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Full text of "Petersburg and Warsaw: scenes witnessed during a residence in Poland and Russia in 1863-4"

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IN 1863-4. 




IJttbiisIjer m rbinarg to P 
















iv Contents. 



POLITICAL PRISONEKS ............ 51 


POLITICAL ASSASSINS ............ 61 


COURTS-MARTIAL .............. 66 


PEASANT-DEPUTATIONS ............ 72 


WERKEY ............... 76 




THE BISONS ........... ... 83 


MEMORIES OF 1812 ............ 86 


BAD OMENS .......... 89 

Contents. v 



















THE GRAND DUKE CONSTANTINE . .. * ', .... 141 

vi Contents, 




















Contents. vii 



















viii Contents. 












AMONGST the discontented nationalities of 
Europe, none has excited more sympathy than 
Poland, though it must, at the same time, be 
confessed that none has received less active 
support. Without going back to the original 
partition of the country amongst the three 
great European Powers that now hold it; 
without referring to that anterior period when 
the seeds of dissension sown in the nature of 
the monarchy, were perpetually bringing forth 
their prickly produce; without pausing to 
discuss that dream of a revived Poland enter- 
tained by the Czar Alexander I., I shall content 
myself with speaking of the Poland of the 

2 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

present day, and of how far she has been 
aided or injured by her sympathizers. If 
verbal sympathy could have healed the wounds 
or redressed the wrongs of Sarmatia, enough 
was said and written in England alone in the 
beginning of the present century to accom- 
plish the work. But Poland's land-bound 
position, which cuts her off from any material 
aid that her insular sympathizers might be 
inclined to give her, prevents them in like 
manner from testing the truth of accounts 
they receive, and which are more frequently 
prepared in accordance with the preconceived 
notions of those by whom they are intended 
to be read, than with a regard to truth. This 
remark does not apply to gentlemen of the 
press, nor to English gentlemen travelling 
through Poland, who, touched by tales of 
oppression related to them, take up their 
pens, and, filled with virtuous indignation, 
make the English people acquainted with 
tales of horror, which the narrators firmly 
believe, but whose origin may be traced to 
the interested framers of such reports. And 

'The English Government and the Poles. 3 

this spirit of exaggeration is a characteristic 
that distinguishes the late disturbances in 
Poland, from all previous outbursts of national 
feeling in that country. It is not that the 
Poles have become aliens to truth, or that 
they wish the rest of Europe to believe their 
position to be other than it is. On the con- 
trary, great as is the sympathy felt for the 
Poles in England, I can confidently aver that 
they deserve still more commiseration than 
they excite. And the grounds for this com- 
miseration are that they have been doubly 
deceived. They have been deceived by those 
foreign emissaries under whose influence this 
outburst of feeling has been excited; and 
they have been deceived by the hopes -well- 
grounded as they thought of foreign aid. 

If the true history of the late insurrection 
in Poland were thoroughly understood in 
England, public opinion would soon undergo 
a very great change. Not that sympathy for 
Poland would become less, but indignation 
would be directed against those who, to serve 
their own ends, trafficked in the patriotism of 


4 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

the Poles, and caused a profitless expenditure 
of blood. 

The spirit of anarchy unchained by the 
French Revolution, and so often mistaken for 
the spirit of freedom which at the same epoch 
rose from a long slumber, has since then num- 
bered her worshippers and her martyrs by 
thousands throughout Europe. Anarchy so 
often assumes the garb and name, and takes 
the tone of freedom, that the blinded multi- 
tude to whom a well-cooked feast is offered, 
does not perceive that the voice of Jacob is 
combined with the hand of Esau. Freedom ! 
Liberty ! These, like many other of the best 
gifts accorded to man, have been trafficked in, 
and some of the noblest instincts from nature 
made instrumental to the darkest crimes. 

These truths have been brought vividly 
before my eyes during my late residence in 
Warsaw. I went to that city filled with 
what I am inclined to call a hereditary English 
indignation against oppression, and I found 
but I must confess it was long before I dis- 
covered the truth that the Poles had been 

'The English Government and the Poles. 5 

misled; that their patriotic sentiments had 
been made a matter of traffic ; that they had 
fallen into the hands of men, revolutionists by 
profession, who undertook to organize a revo- 
lution in Poland. The Poles discovered their 
mistake, but too late: thev could not draw 


back, for the machinery of the National 
Government was by that time in full opera- 
tion, and the gendarmes pendeurs were always 
ready for their work. 

Nothing can be more unfortunate than the 
position of Poland. I would wish to speak 
loudly and energetically on the subject. The 
English people at this moment misjudge the 
conduct of their own government as much as 
they misunderstand the position of the Poles. 
A full and public discussion of the question 
would reveal truths as astonishing to the well- 
meaning English public as they were to me 
and to some few others who learned the facts 
on the scene of action. 

The cosmopolitan revolutionists, whose head- 
quarters are at London and Paris, having done 
a considerable share of work in Italy, and 

6 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

having tickled a few of the minor nationali- 
ties of Europe, turned their eyes to Poland. 
Here they found materials ready to their use. 
With the Poles, patriotism is their strength 
and their weakness. There is no sacrifice that 
a patriot Pole is not ready to make for his 
country ; there is no folly, no act of rashness, 
which he may not be induced to commit, if 
presented to him shadowed over with the veil 
of patriotism. The revolution-makers knew 
this, and found little difficulty in exciting fer- 
mentation in the elements present in Polish 
society ; and the Poles, blinded by the vapours 
rising from their own quickly -heated imagina- 
tions, did not see, could not divine, the motives 
of their advisers. They were dazzled by the 
prospect of a thoroughly-organized revolution, 
ramifying itself into France and England, 
whence the roots should be supplied with 
nutriment. It was not to be wondered at, 
that many Polish noblemen and landowners 
were seduced; it was not to be wondered 
at, that old hopes, old visions, should again 
revive. These gentlemen believed that the 

The English Government and the Poles, 7 

emissaries of the revolutionists spoke the 
sentiments of England and France. The 
prospect was unfortunately too alluring. The 
Polish nobility, who are for the most part 
very rich, gave large sums of money freely, 
and the revolution-makers, thus supplied with 
what they most needed, set to work. These 
men understood perfectly well how to perform 
the task they had undertaken. The experience 
they had had in other countries, they utilized 
in Poland. They established what they called 
the National Government, an institution so 
effectually hidden from the eyes of the un- 
initiated, that it may be deemed a myth, 
were it not that its decrees were executed 
with fatal punctuality. But the most power- 
ful weapon in the hands of the revolution- 
makers was the institution of the national 
gendarmerie, now known as the "hanging 
gendarmerie." This was a secret police, of 
wonderfully perfect organization, distributed 
over the country, in bands varying in number 
from two and three to twenty and thirty, 
according to the wants of the locality in 

8 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

which they were stationed. These men were 
for the most part foreigners; those amongst 
them who were Poles were the lowest of 
society, such as are to be found in every 
country; men who from their boyhood up- 
wards have seldom had a stationary home, 
except when in a public prison ; men familiar 
with crime, and who can be easily induced to 
" do murder for a meed." These elements 
were compounded into a "national gendar- 
merie," and trained to assume every species 
of disguise, they went about the streets in 
cities armed with concealed poignards, with 
which as they passed a " marked man " they 
stabbed him. In the commencement of the 
revolution, it was almost impossible to detect 
these assassins, their disguise was so complete, 
and they chose their time so well. They com- 
menced their work in the early dusk, before 
the streets were quite deserted, so that they 
could profit by the double advantages offered 
by the presence of the passengers and the 
advancing obscurity. 

This system of stabbing in the streets is 

English Government and the Poles. 9 

one of the most hideous treasons against 
humanity that assassination ever invented. 
It was done so quietly ; the victim fell, and 
when the passers-by ran to his assistance, 
they found him dying, or perhaps already 
dead, of a stab in the heart. As the practice 
of this crime spread, the terror of the inhabi- 
tants in the different cities became intense. 
No mother who blessed her son as he left 
her house in the morning, could reckon upon 
ever seeing him alive again. No wife who 
embraced her husband as he left his home, 
could be sure that before night his murdered 
corpse might not be laid at her feet. 

I must premise that before things had 
reached this height in the cities, many of the 
Polish noblemen and landowners who had, at 
first, abetted the revolution, had discovered 
their mistake. They found that they had 
placed themselves in the hands of men who 
were revolution-makers by profession, that a 
wonderfully well -devised system of terror had 
been brought into operation, and that instead 
of becoming necessary to what they had hoped 

io Petersburg and Warsaw. 

would be the regeneration of their country, 
they found themselves instruments in the 
hands of men who recognised no law but the 
dagger or the gallows. Remonstrance was 
vain, they could not free themselves from the 
clasp of the spectre they had raised, and 
nothing remained for them but to retire to 
their homes, and, with barricaded doors and 
windows, try to defend from the 
incursions of these national gendarmerie, who 
went about extorting contributions for defray- 
ing the expenses of the revolution. Refusal 
to comply with these demands was attended 
with the risk of assassination. 

When the secret of the Polish revolution was 
discovered, when numbers of the anti-Russian 
Poles perceived that they had been deceived, 
that they had unwittingly sold themselves to 
a secret society, which as Kossuth expressed 
it, saura se faire obeir, they would most 
willingly have retired from the trap into which 
they had fallen, but the issue was barred with 
poignards. The exactions of the soi-disant 
National Government were exorbitant. There 

The English Government and the Poles. 1 1 

is scarcely a landed proprietor in the country 
whose revenue has not become embarrassed 
by the sums he has been obliged to pay to 
the revolutionists. I have seen nobles and 
large landed proprietors living in hourly terror 
of assassination, barricaded in their own 
houses, dreading the entrance of the " hang- 
ing gendarmerie," to whose presence in the 
country they might have been themselves in- 
strumental, but who now kept them in per- 
petual terror. 

I saw a very sad instance of the effects 
produced by this terrorism. I visited Count 
Colonthai at his residence in Warsaw, where, 
with his family and his father-in-law, he had 
retired some months before. When the Count 
saw the revolution in its true light, he was 
desirous of immediately leaving the country 
with his wife, his property being so circum- 
stanced, that he could do so without loss. 
But it was otherwise with his father-in-law. 
He could not leave Poland at so short a notice 
without great pecuniary loss. His son-in-law 
consented to remain. In the house where I 

1 2 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

saw them they lived barricaded, and as in a 
state of siege. It had been so for months. 
The ladies of the family looked pale and 
anxious ; I saw them sit at the dinner-table 
without tasting food, and the lady of the 
house told me that but in compliment to her 
guests she would not have appeared at all. 
Her anticipations of evil were founded upon 
what she had already suffered and seen others 
suffer. Her old father had not been able to 
resist the effects that the hourly dread of 
assassination wrought upon his mind. His 
reason wandered. It was one amongst the 
many calamities occasioned by the national 

The National Government organized this 
gendarmerie in the first instance, for the pur- 
pose of intimidating the peasantry and those 
inhabitants of the towns who were not inclined 
to revolt ; for, I am sorry to be compelled to 
say, that the worst enemy that the Polish 
peasant ever knew was his Polish landlord. 
When we speak of the " patriotic" Poles, 
those who have at any time risen against their 

The English Government and the Poles. 13 

foreign rulers, we must remember that these 
" patriots " were all nobles and landowners ; 
there were no peasants in these patriot bands. 
I say it with a feeling of shame, because of 
my hereditary admiration for the Poles, but 
truth compels me to repeat that in Poland 
little sympathy exists between tenant and 
land-owner. Consequently, the peasantry 
had no interest in revolutions, and it was to 
intimidate that class that the national gen- 
darmerie were first organized. It was on 
the peasantry that these bands of hired assas- 
sins, these off-scourings of every country in 
Europe, first practised their barbarities ; and 
when the Polish nobles, they who had abetted . 
this revolution, discovered the great error they 
had committed, and wished to retrace their 
steps, they, in turn, became obnoxious to the 
power they had themselves raised up in the 
land, and were made to suffer in loss of pro- 
perty, and too frequently in loss of life. 

The plotters and framers of this revolution 
were men who understood perfectly well the 
work they had in hand, and in no instance 

14 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

did they show their skill more than in their 
successful efforts to mislead the European 
press. I speak especially with reference to 
the press of France and England, those 
countries where sympathy for the Poles has 
been most strongly felt. "Our Correspon- 
dents" on both sides of the Channel were 
loud in their outcry against the enemies of 
the Poles, but unfortunately they did not at 
first know have they yet learned ? who were 
the worst enemies of the Poles during the late 

There is not, perhaps, a man in England 
who was not deceived as to the character and 
origin of the late insurrection in Poland. The 
British Government were deceived, and when 
they at first so warmly interfered in the affairs 
of Poland, it was because they were then 
under the impression that the movement in 
Poland was a national one. Lord Napier, the 
English Ambassador at St. Petersburg, first 
discovered through reliable sources that the 
British ministers had been misinformed, and 
that the well-contrived and terribly executed 

'The English Government and the Poles. 1 5 

revolution was not the work of the Poles, 
except in so far as they had been instru- 
ments in the hands of cosmopolitan revolu- 

It was very much to the honour of the 
British Government that they hastened to ex- 
postulate with Russia upon her treatment of 
the Poles. It was a generous impulse be- 
coming the Government of a free people, and 
one for which the Polish nobility will always 
feel grateful, but none know better than the 
noble Poles themselves how much falsehood 
was in the reports circulated with regard to 
the late insurrection. When the British mini- 
sters learned the facts of the case, and saw 
that they had been misled, they felt that their 
interference had been misplaced. They were 
striding with a war pace towards a nation 
whose exact relations with her dependencies 
at that moment they did not understand. 
They retraced their steps, and, for this move- 
ment, which not alone policy but honesty 
would have dictated, they are loudly blamed 
by some. Nor were the British ministers 

1 6 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

ignorant of what little dependence could be 
placed upon one of England's principal allies, 
who, it was then discovered, had some months 
before attempted secret negotiations with 
Russia, inimical to the policy and interests of 
this country. It behoved the ministers to act 
with caution and promptitude, and they did so. 
This is the history of the October despatch, 
about which some persons think- there is so 
much mystery. An undelivered despatch 
cannot be considered a parliamentary docu- 
ment, but were the disputed despatch made 
public, it would only serve to convince the 
English people that the ministry having acted 
generously in the first instance, acted pru- 
dently in the second. What would the feel- 
ings of the English people be, if, pursuing 
a well-intentioned but mistaken policy, the 
Government had drifted them into war with 
Russia ? What would they say if, at the 
end of some months, after money and human 
life had been uselessly squandered, we should 
only then learn the truth, and discover that 
we had not been fighting in the cause of op- 

The English Government and the Poles. 1 7 

pressed Poland, but for the benefit of the cos- 
mopolitan revolutionists ? As much has been 
said about this recalled despatch, as if it were 
an event unexampled in the annals of diplo- 
macy, but diplomatists on both sides of the 
House know that such is not the case, and 
were the ministerial benches to become filled 
by gentlemen opposed in politics to those who 
now sit there, and should political combina- 
tions, exactly similar to those now under dis- 
cussion, arise, there can be no doubt but that 
the new occupants of the ministerial benches, 
actuated by a sense of duty to the country, 
would behave in precisely the same way as 
that in which the present ministry have 

Another circumstance connected with the 
Polish insurrection, which the English people 
could scarcely divine, is that the getters-up 
of that insurrection did the Czar of Russia 
service of grave importance. The Czar had 
emancipated the serfs, and by so doing had 
wounded the prejudices of a large and power- 
ful party in Russia men who did not wish to 

1 8 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

see the old system of things changed. It will 
be remembered that the year before last, con- 
flagrations broke out in different parts of 
Russia, and a great deal of property was 
destroyed. These fires were supposed to be 
expressions of hostility directed against the 
Czar and his advisers. The Russians, though 
they regard the Czar with feelings little short 
of worship, were not all quite pleased with 
his proceedings towards the serfs. The revo- 
lution-makers profited by these symptoms of 
discontent in Russia, to hasten their negotia- 
tions with the Poles. The insurrection broke 
out. The two greatest nations in Europe 
openly expressed sympathy for the Poles, and 
the remonstrances addressed by their govern- 
ments to the Czar sounded threateningly. The 
patriotism of the fanatical Russians rose to a 
terrible pitch. Their Czar was insulted, their 
country threatened. They declared themselves 
ready to die for both. Not since the commence- 
ment of the Crimean war had the Muscovite 
nation been so electrified. It was not the Czar, 
it was not Prince Gortschakoff, who would have 

'The English Government and the 1 9 

replied to a hostile despatch it was sixty 
millions of combined and angry Russians. 

A rupture between England and Russia 
would not serve the cause of Poland, but it 
would help to carry out the designs of the 
re volution -makers, who have done the Poles 
such heavy detriment. It would exactly coin- 
cide with the object contemplated by the 
organizers of the " hanging gendarmerie." 

During a visit I made in the district of 
Wlodslawek, of which Prince Emile de Sayn 
Wittgenstein is governor, I asked the Prince 
to give me a sketch of his experience during 
the insurrection, and to say what he thought 
of the organization of the " National Gendar- 
merie." The Prince wrote me a long letter on 
the subject. His account agreed with the 
information I had already received and with 
my own experience. As the Prince speaks 
very freely both of the " hanging gendarmerie " 
and of his own exertions in suppressing them, 
I subjoin his letter. 


2O Petersburg and Warsaw. 



"THE institution of the national gendarmes, 
which the people, with their characteristic 
felicitousness of expression, have denominated 
* the hanging gendarmes/ was originally de- 
signed for the purpose of obtaining by force 
and by systematic terrorism, what the revolu- 
tionary party in Poland had not been able 
to obtain either by patriotic speeches or by 
promises, or even by the powerful influence 
of the clergy, that is to say, the voluntary 
co-operation of the agricultural classes and the 
richest of the bourgeoisie in the Insurrection 
of 1863. 

"The first acts of cruelty on the part of these 
national gendarmerie took place, as well as I 

Prince Wittgenstein's Letter. 11 

can remember, about the end of May and the 
beginning of June. Drawn without exception 
from the dregs of the populace of the towns, 
recruited amongst liberated malefactors and 
vagabonds of every kind, that the revolution 
has let loose upon this unfortunate country, 
the ' National Gendarmerie ' rose suddenly 
and simultaneously all over the country, and 
inaugurated their advent by hangings en masse, 
which for a time had the effect of completely 
suspending the co-operation we were beginning 
to receive from the peasantry, and which ulti- 
mately contributed more than all the repressive 
measures of the Government to recall the 
great mass of the population to a correct view 
of the state of the country, and made them 
apprehend a future of inevitable ruin and car- 
nage, should Poland be abandoned to the rule 
of a party that employed such auxiliaries ; in 
a word, the proceedings of the hanging gen- 
darmerie effected a powerful reaction in favour 
of order and of the established Government, 
a reaction which still operates in all classes of 
society and in all parts of the kingdom. 

22 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

"Established in detachments of three or four 
in every village, and upon every large estate, 
these Thugs of modern civilization spread like 
a net-work over the whole country, obeying 
district officers, who in turn obeyed the com- 
mands of provincial chiefs, who received their 
orders direct from Warsaw. 

" The mission of these men was to collect by 
threats of assassination the levies called national 
taxes, to point out the recalcitrant peasants and 
oblige them by force to join the revolutionary 
bands, and, as I have said, by incessant cruelty, 
by accumulated assassinations, to compel that 
co-operation which terror alone could procure 
them. Concealing themselves by day and 
doing their work of terror by night, they often 
acted as guides to bodies of troops sent to 
track them ; and the very peasants that they 
oppressed, hid them or protected their flight, 
knowing that if they did otherwise the gallows 
and flaming villages would follow quickly the 
slightest suspicion of connivance with the Rus- 
sian Government. It has often happened that 
words dropped from the lips of a child, of a 

Prince Wittgenstein's Letter. 23 

drunken person, or a village gossip, that the 
delay in the execution of an order, a passing 
rumour, a refusal to go to the forest, or like 
trifling causes, have sufficed to bring ruin and 
death on entire families. A delay in sending 
provisions or the means of transport that had 
been demanded, a want of money to pay 
these contributions, denominated ' voluntary/ 
was invariably followed by cruel retaliations, 
most frequently by death ; and if the person 
threatened succeeded in eluding his execu- 
tioners, his family were obliged to pay his 
debt to ' the vengeance of his country/ 

"It was under such circumstances that a 
patrouitte that T sent into the neighbourhood 
of Wincenti, in the government of Angustowo, 
found a family hanged because the father, who 
had refused to join a revolutionary band, had 
taken flight. The members of this family 
who were hanged consisted of the man's wife 
and his five children, the youngest between 
two and three years of age. 

" In a military excursion that I made through 
the same government in the month of July, I 

24 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

met at Rajgroed an old half-pay Russian offi- 
cer, Captain Nitschaeff, who had lived in that 
town a great many years, and who had become 
suspected by the district commander of the 
* National Gendarmerie,' and against whom 
sentence of death was recorded. Warned in 
time by his friends he escaped. The execu- 
tioners not finding him seized his wife, the 
mother of four children ; and s the unhappy 
man appealed to me to assist him in his search 
for her. Two days later I received a report 
from the military commander of the district of 
Angustowo, saying that the body of Madame 
Nitschaeff had been found hanging on a tree in 
the forest of Lipsk. Her eyes had been plucked 
out, and her tongue and breasts cut off. 

" An elderly lady, owner of an estate in the 
neighbourhood of Sopockin, received about the 
same time 100 lashes, because she had not 
prepared at the appointed time a number of 
vehicles required by a certain band of revolu- 

" It was after this fashion that the apostles 
of the national Polish cause preached to the 

Prince Wittgenstein's Letter. 25 

masses of the population the emancipation and 
regeneration of their country. 

" But this is not all. There were bands like 
that of Bonsza, for example, in the government 
of Plock, that traversed the country, hanging 
at random in every village through which they 
passed one or more peasants, merely to keep 
up a feeling of terror in some, and to secure 
the silence and co-operation of others. This 
Bonsza, I must observe, was originally a ser- 
vant, and was dismissed his employment for 
theft. He commenced his political career by 
hanging his master. The peasantry became 
so depressed, so brutified, by these continual 
threats of death, tiiat they at length sunk into 
dejection, allowing themselves to be slaugh- 
tered like sheep. 

" The following circumstance occurred whilst 
I was at Suwalki. In a large village, of more 
than a hundred families, situate, if I remember 
correctly, in the neighbourhood of Segny, a 
national gendarme appeared one day. He 
was armed with two revolvers. He assembled 
all the inhabitants in the open air, and made 

26 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

them a long speech, reproaching them with 
their want of patriotism. He chose at random 
four, and hanged them in the presence of the 
villagers, without a man of that multitude 
making an effort to save them. 

" I shall relate you another fact that occurred 
fifteen days since at Gombin, the district at 
present under my jurisdiction ; a district in 
which, thank Heaven ! owing to the activity 
of my leaders of columns, and the good dispo- 
sitions of the peasantry, a like circumstance 
had not occurred for two months previously. 
A German colonist, named Bohme, who some 
time before had informed the authorities that 
one of these cut-throats was hidden in the 
village, received a citation, I know not under 
what pretext, to appear before the tribunal of 
the city of Gombin. Having arrived at Gom- 
bin he was seized in the middle of the street 
by three unarmed men, who rushed out of an 
inn, and in presence of a number of bystanders 
tied his hands behind his back, threw him into 
a cart, and drove out of the town. They made 
a long detour through the environs, torturing 

Prince Wittgenstein's Letter. 27 

their prisoner the whole time in the most cruel 
manner. They cut away the inside of his 
nostrils, fleed his back, and flogged him inces- 
santly with whips. The victim suffered so 
that the imprint of his teeth was found in the 
wood of the blood-stained cart. Having 
arrived at the house of a proprietor, whom I 
shall not name, the executioners halted, and 
ordered some brandy. Whilst they were en- 
joying themselves their victim profited by the 
opportunity, and, all bleeding as he was, fled 
and hid in the garden. The executioners, 
aided by the servants of the nobleman, pursued 
him, whilst the daughter of the house looked 
on from the window. The pursuers overtook 
the fugitive, carried him a little further still, 
flogging him until he became insensible. They 
then flung him into a yard, where he expired 
of cold and pain. The torturers returned 
again, and in mockery hung the dead body in 
a Protestant cemetery a few versts beyond. 

" On learning these horrible details I resolved 
to make a terrible example, convinced that by 
doing so I should save the lives of many. I, 

28 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

therefore, imposed a fine of 3,000 roubles on 
the city of Gombin, and ordered the house 
which had been the theatre of the crime to be 
sacked from top to bottom, leaving the owners 
only their personal effects. The effect of this 
example was, that within three days, the three 
assassins were delivered up by the peasants 
themselves, who certainly, if I had acted with 
less severity, would have hesitated to take such 
an initiative. One of these assassins was a 
German named Miiller. I ordered the three to 
be hanged at Gombin. 

" It is a remarkable fact with regard to the 
national gendarmes, whose number I must 
say diminishes daily, thanks to our incessant 
pursuit, and thanks above all to the spirit of 
conservation which for some time past has 
awaked in the peasantry and land-owners, and 
which stimulates them to track these cut- 
throats themselves, and deliver them up to 
justice, it is, I must say, remarkable that a 
third, at least, of these gendarmes are foreign- 
ers, for the most part Prussians. One was lately 
brought before me who was a Schleswiger. 

Prince Wittgenstein's Letter. 29 

This man was caught at the very moment 
when he was about to hang a woman. He had 
come from his own country to advance the 
Polish propaganda by means of the patriotic 

" This class of wretches will have soon dis- 
appeared, thanks to the activity with which 
the people join the troops in freeing the coun- 
try from them. Their great stronghold at 
present is Warsaw, whose vast rabble quickly 
fills the gaps made by those who 'meurent 
pour la patrie.' But the energy of Count de 
Berg, supported by that of General Trepoff, 
will soon suppress these. 

" Such are the ' martyrs' of the Polish cause 
whom Russian barbarity, to the great scandal 
of the foreign press, punishes with death. 

" I shall mention a few whom I have myself 
got hanged, and who would have deserved 
death in any other country, even in liberal 
England. I do not speak of regenerated Italy, 
that now incessantly pours forth upon us her 
civilizing phrases and her superabundance of 
patriotic vagabonds. She has proved iii the 

3<D Petersburg and Warsaw. 

city of Naples that she did not hesitate to 
shoot down by hundreds those whom she 
called brigands. The Italians did not look 
very closely to examine whether amongst the 
slain there were women and children. Ob- 
serve that during the entire time that the revo- 
lution lasted in Poland not one woman was 

"I shall now speak of the martyrs I have 
made : 

" Panlinsky, head of the ' National Gendar- 
merie' in the district of Gostynin, for having 
put to death more than thirty peasants; of 
whom twelve were shot at one time in a row. 
He hanged a woman who was enceinte, and 
whose child was born at the moment that the 
mother was strangled. The infant was nailed 
to a tree close by. 

" Corfini, chief of the ' National Gendarme- 
rie' of the district of Wlodslawek ; convicted 
of having assassinated twenty-nine persons, 
amongst whom were two women whom he got 
flogged to death. 

" Bliachowski, successor to Panlinsky ; who 

Prince Wittgensteins Letter. 31 

had assassinated an unknown number of per- 

"Kopczinsky; he had flogged a woman 
to death, stoned one man, and shot two 

" I could mention some others of the same 
calibre, but I am at present pressed for time. 
I merely give you this sketch in order that on 
your return to England, where people know 
how to distinguish between truth and false- 
hood, you may take our part against system- 
atic calumny and charlatanism, and may open 
the eyes of those amongst your compatriots 
who are willing to see. 

" 1 shall add a piece of intelligence which I 
have just learned from a letter that has been 
seized at Warsaw. It is from one of the chiefs 
of the ' National Gendarmerie' of the govern- 
ment of Plock ; who, finding political assassina- 
tion by the poignard and pistol too dangerous 
for the executors, proposes to replace this 
system by poison, a means which he praises 
highly, as superior to the poignard in facility 
and secrecy with the additional advantage of 

32 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

being capable of being administered by women, 
who certainly will not refuse thus to concur in 
the great patriotic work. 

" I wish you a pleasant journey, and hope 
to see you soon. 



28M January, 1864." 

Lithuania. 33 



IN the August of last year I left Peters- 
burg for Poland. Since the breaking out 
of the Insurrection in the latter country, 
every traveller before he can obtain his rail- 
way ticket must show his passport to a police 
officer at the station. My passport being 
in order, I at once obtained a permis de 
depart, and took my place in a first-class 
carriage for Wilna. We left Petersburg at 
10 o'clock, P.M. and did not arrive at the 
capital of Lithuania till between 7 and 8 
o'clock next evening. The distance, how- 
ever, is not more than about 300 English 
miles. My fare was 3 3s. ; and for my bag- 
gage, consisting of a portmanteau and travel- 

34 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

ling bag, I paid about 8s. The charges, it 
will thus be seen, are higher than on any rail- 
way in Europe, and yet the Warsaw line, as 
far as regards the interests of the shareholders, 
has been a ruinous undertaking. The accom- 
modation at all the stations was very bad, and 
the prices for refreshment absurdly high. 

On arriving at the Wilna station, I found it 
as free from police restrictions as the station 
at Windsor. A commissionaire took charge 
of my baggage, and I drove in a very comfort- 
able carriage, infinitely superior to the public 
conveyances to be found at the railway stations 
of Petersburg, to the Hotel de T Europe. 

This hotel is kept by a German who was 
many years resident in England, and who 
speaks our language fluently. There is a 
degree of comfort, cleanliness, and order in 
this establishment not to be found in any 
of the hotels of Petersburg, with the single 
exception of Miss Benson's, on the English 
Quay. The charges are exceedingly moderate, 
when it is remembered that the town is at 
present crowded with military. You can dine 

Lithuania. 35 

at the table d'hote for about 2$., and have a 
comfortable room for 3s. a night. These 
details may seem trivial ; but, as many of my 
countrymen will in all possibility go over the 
same road as myself, to visit places which have 
now attained a melancholy celebrity, I have 
determined to give them all the information 
I can with regard to pecuniary expenses and 
personal comfort. 

D 2 

3 6 Petersburg and Warsaw. 



THE next day I went to the chateau, which 
was formerly a palace belonging to the Kings 
of Poland. I was kindly received by General 
Mouravieff, to whom I presented the letters 
of recommendation which I had brought 
with me from Petersburg. The general told 
me that he had received instructions from 
his Government to show me the prisons and 
hospitals, the courts of justice, and any 
other public institutions that I might wish to 
inspect. " Here," General Mouravieff said, 
" there is no mystery, there is no concealment ; 
everything is done openly and in the face of 
day." I remarked that I was very glad that 
his Excellency was so willing to facilitate my 

Lithuania. 37 

inquiries. I had come determined, I told him, 
to believe nothing that I did not see with my 
own eyes, and the truth of which I had not 
submitted to the severest tests. Reports of 
cruelties practised by the Russian authorities 
in Lithuania, I said, had reached the Go- 
vernments of Western Europe, and had caused 
remonstrances to be addressed to the Govern- 
ment at Petersburg. "I do not acknow- 
ledge," the general said, very sternly, " the 
right of any foreign Government to interfere 
in the internal administration of the Russian 
Empire. What Prince Gortschakoff's mode 
of treating this question is I do not know, 
but this I will say, that I have here an army of 
120,000 men, and that I am ready to hold my 
own against any foreign Power whatsoever. 
The entire district under my command is now 
perfectly quiet, and you are safer from insult 
and annoyance in the streets of Wilna than 
in the streets of Petersburg. This army of 
120,000 men was not necessary for the paci- 
fication of the province ; all that was required 
was a good administration. When I arrived 

38 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

here I found a number of Poles in Government 
employment. I dismissed them all, and placed 
Russians in their stead. My army is now idle ; 
there is nothing for them to do. I sent some 
of my troops the other day into the Kingdom, 
to assist in suppressing the insurrection in a 
part close to my Government. The Grand 
Duke, que le bon Dieu le benisse! has ideas 
different from mine about the way to restore 
order. However, that is not my business ; you 
will be able to judge for yourself when you go to 
Warsaw." The general then offered to allow 
any officer of his staff that I chose to accompany 
me in my visits to the places I wished to see. 
I had had the good fortune of being intro- 
duced to Colonel de Lebedeff, Director of the 
Committee of Prisons of Petersburg. The 
Colonel had not long before been in England, 
collecting information about our penal system, 
and was on intimate terms with the late Sir 
Joshua Jebb. I mentioned Colonel deLebedeff's 
name, and was very much pleased when General 
Mouravieff said he would give him instructions 
to accompany me in my visits of inspection. 

Lithuania. 39 



THE next morning Colonel de Lebedeff called 
upon me, and we drove together to the monas- 
tery of St. Jacob, which is situated at a short 
distance outside the town, in the midst of 
most picturesque and fertile scenery. This 
monastery has, under the direction of Colonel 
de Lebedeff, been converted into a commo- 
dious, clean, and well-ordered hospital for the 
sick and wounded insurgents. It has been 
modelled, as nearly as the difficulties of the 
case would allow, upon the plan of our English 
hospitals. Every ward, and every cell where 
the patient was in solitary confinement, was 
provided with all the requisites for cleanliness. 
In one part of the building, on the ground- 

4O Petersburg and Warsaw. 

floor, were vapour baths, something like the 
so-called Turkish baths in London, together 
with the ordinary hot and cold water baths. 
Attached to the hospital was an ice-house ; for 
ice is largely used by Russian medical men, 
with excellent effect, for the suppression of 
inflammation in case of wounds, fractures, 
amputations, &c. When the application of ice 
is necessary, an iron rod of a semicircular form 
is placed across the bed of the patient, forming 
an arch immediately over the part inflamed. 
From this arch are suspended waterproof oil- 
cloth bags, filled with ice, which touch the 
wound just sufficiently to keep it cool, without 
causing any painful pressure. 

In the first room which we visited were 
five men; the oldest appeared to be sixty 
years of age, the youngest thirty. They were 
all labouring under mental derangement, 
caused either by fear at having fallen into the 
hands of the Russians, or by the scenes of 
desolation and death of which they had lately 
been witness. One man took me by the hand, 
and told me that he was the king of Poland, 

Lithuania. 41 

and that he knew me to be the Emperor of 
the French, and that he hoped I would speak 
to the Czar in his favour. There was a keeper 
with these poor creatures, and there are sen- 
tries constantly outside the door, to prevent 
any accidents occurring. 

We then visited the room in which was 
Chaplinsky, the young student who, in obe- 
dience to the orders of the National Govern- 
ment, conducted Bankowsky and Marchewscky 
to the house of M. Domeiko, the Marshal of 
the Nobility of the government of Wilna. The 
secret tribunal of the National Government 
had sentenced the marshal to death, and Ban- 
kowsky, an assistant surgeon, was appointed 
to execute the sentence, with the aid of 
Marchewsky. As both these young men were 
strangers in Wilna, Chaplinsky was ordered to 
be their guide. It will be remembered that 
all three were taken separately. Chaplinsky 
at first denied all knowledge of the crime ; but, 
when he was confronted with the two others, 
he fell senseless on the ground, and the shock 
to his system was so great that he was taken 

42 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

to the hospital and placed under medical care. 
When we entered the room he was lying in 
his bed in a state of lethargy. His cheeks 
were pale and sunken, and he had the emaci- 
ated look of one in the last stages of decline. 
When he spoke, his voice was weak and plain- 
tive ; and, as it evidently distressed him to talk, 
we left him, having first assured ourselves that 
he was properly cared for by his attendant. 

We then visited a large ward, some fifty 
feet long by fourteen in width. There were 
twenty beds, ranged in two lines in the centre 
of the room, and at the head of each bed was 
a board on which was painted the name of the 
patient, together with the nature of the wound 
or illness from which he was suffering. Each 
patient, not only in this ward, but throughout 
the hospital, was furnished by the authorities 
with clothing, consisting of a shirt, white 
canvass trousers, slippers, and a loose dressing- 
gown of coarse striped linen. In this, and in 
a corresponding ward of the same size, I found, 
amongst the other patients, six youths, of ages 
varying between fifteen and eighteen years. 

Lithuania. 43 

They were students, who had run away from 
college and joined in the insurrection, and 
were taken on the field of battle. They were 
mild-looking, gentlemanly lads, but their cap- 
tors reported them as having fought with the 
most desperate courage. One of them, sixteen 
years of age, had received no less than seven- 
teen bayonet stabs ! He was then convalescent, 
which fact I looked upon as a proof that the 
medical treatment in the hospital was exceed- 
ingly good. Another youth of the same age 
had his left hand, which had been shattered 
by a musket ball, amputated. He also was 
convalescent. Both were quite cheerful, and 
readily answered my questions. I told them, 
as 1 had made it a rule to tell all the captured 
Poles with whom I came in contact, that I 
was an Englishman, and that if they had any 
request to make, that I was ready to assist 
them to the best of my power. They told me, 
in reply to my questions, that their food was 
good and abundant, and that they were treated 
kindly by the officers of the hospital. As it 
was near the dinner-hour, I waited till that 

44 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

meal was brought into the ward. Each con- 
valescent patient received a tureen of very 
palatable soup, a dish of roast or boiled meat, 
and a loaf of bread. Those who were still 
suffering had a diet prescribed by the doctors. 
In the latter category was a youth of eighteen, 
whose entrails had been frightfully torn by a 
gun-shot wound. He tried to look cheerful, 
and smiled feebly when I approached his bed. 
He said his sufferings were great, but that 
the doctors assured him he would recover. 
He whispered to me that I could do him a 
great favour. There was a person, he said, that 
he knew was unhappy about him and here 
for an instant a hectic flush came into his pale 
face, and his eyes filled with tears he knew 
she was in Wilna, he faltered out, and would I 
find her, and tell her that he was alive and 
would recover ? He told me her name and the 
locality where her father's house was situated. 
I promised to do as he wished, and to come 
and see him again. He pressed my hand in 
both of his, and then hid his face in the pillow. 
Not far off lay a boy of fifteen years old. A 

Lithuania. 45 

Russian soldier had, in the charge, stabbed him 
in the breast with his bayonet, and the weapon 
had gone through and through his frail body. 
When I stooped down to speak to him his 
cheeks were wet with tears. He said it was 
not the pain of his wound that made him 
cry, but that he was thinking of his two little 
sisters and of his mother, who loved him so 

46 Petersburg and Warsaw. 



THAT evening I dined with General Moura- 
vieff, and, as I sat beside him on a bench in 
the garden of the palace, I told him of those 
poor lads who lay wounded in the hospital. 
The general is an old man, he is a father, he 
has known what it is to suffer. His heart was 
touched by what I said, and he promised that 
all these boys should be released as soon as 
they were well, and be handed over to their 
families. Three days after, I returned to the 
hospital with a tolerably light heart, for I had 
good news for some of the inmates. The 
kind Russian officer who had accompanied me 
had, in his pocket-book, two or three lines 
full of a simple, childlike love, written by the 

Lithuania. 47 

trembling hand of a young girl. When we 
entered the ward where the poor wounded 
youth lay that had asked me to let that same 
young lady know that he was alive and would 
recover, his face lit up with hope. We gave 
him the pocket-book, open at the place where 
the lines were written, and walked away whilst 
he read them. It was his best medicine. 
How bright and happy he looked when we 
turned back to speak to him ! My friend, the 
father himself of boys and girls, gave him a 
pencil and told him he might write an answer 
on the same leaf. Hurriedly he wrote, but it 
was on another page, for that on which the 
young girl had written was blistered with his 

I then turned to look for the boy who had 
been wounded in the breast, to tell him he 
would soon be well and happy in his own 
home, with his mother and his little sisters 
who loved him so much. He was not in the 
ward ; his bed was empty. I found him alone, 
in a room in another part of the building. 
He was lying on his back j his long fair hair 

48 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

was combed away from his pale young face, 
which looked more placid than when I had 
seen it last. A crucifix lay upon the coverlet 
of his bed, and his hands were crossed meekly 
upon his breast, as if he were praying. 
When I came nearer I saw that his sorrows 
and his sufferings were ended for ever he 
was dead ! 

He was buried according to thorites of the 
Catholic Church, in the cemetery of Wilna. 
A pious hand placed a small wooden cross at 
the head of his narrow grave, and a kind- 
hearted Russian soldier planted a few flowers 
in the freshly-turned earth of the boy-patriot's 
last resting-place. But long before the flowers 
wither in the cold of the coming winter, his 
young life so ruthlessly closed, his lonely 
death-bed and his silent tears, will all be for- 
gotten, save by the sisters he loved so well, and 
by the widowed mother, who mourns in her 
desolate home the loss of her only son. 

In the same hospital was a prisoner named 
Albert. He was a civil engineer; he had 
resided many years in Paris, and spoke French 



remarkably well. He was taken prisoner not 
long before on the defeat of a band, of which 
he, from his superior intelligence, was supposed 
to have been the chief. He said that, as a 
Pole, he was naturally anxious that his country 
should be free, but that he knew the insurrec- 
tion could not succeed without the aid of 
France and England. "Then," I said, " why 
did you not wait for an armed intervention on 
the part of the Western Powers?" He was 
forced into the movement, he replied, in oppo- 
sition to his better judgment. His health was 
bad, he continued, and he obtained leave from 
the chief of the works where he was employed 
to come for change of air to Wilna, where he 
had a cousin who was a curate. When he 
called at his cousin's residence he was from 
home, and he determined to take a walk in 
the neighbourhood whilst waiting his return. 
During his walk in the suburbs of the town 
he met some young men, with whom he entered 
into conversation. They told him that a 
national rising was intended, and that every 
Pole ought to join in the insurrection. They 

50 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

said they belonged to a band which was sta- 
tioned at a short distance, and that he had 
better become a member. He objected, upon 
which they showed him that they were armed, 
and swore they would kill him if he did not 
join them, for that he was then in possession 
of their secret, and that for their own safety 
they could not allow him to return back into 
the town. Seeing there was no other alterna- 
tive, he went with them, and after walking 
some miles they found the band bivouacked in 
a wood. He then took the oath of fidelity to 
the national cause, and stuck to his comrades 
through good and evil fortune till they were 
beaten by the Russians and he was made 




THE day following ray first visit to the Hos- 
pital of St. Jacob we went to see the Convent 
of the " Missionaries," which had been fitted up 
as a prison for three hundred men and sixty 
women. As a general rule, when the accusa- 
tion is of a serious nature, the prisoner is kept 
in solitary confinement till after trial. The 
convent cells are appropriated to this purpose, 
and the large rooms are inhabited in common 
by those who have already been tried and 
are waiting the execution of their sentence, 
and also by those against whom there is no 
charge of an aggravated nature. We first went 
into a room where there were twenty women 
of the humbler class, all lodged apart from 
E 2 

52 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

the other female prisoners, who were ladies 
of rank. I asked, on entering, if any of the 
women spoke French, when a rather well- 
dressed young person hurried towards me, 
and, in a very excited way and in excellent 
French, exclaimed, that she felt she would die 
if she were kept much longer in prison ; that 
she was innocent, that she had taken no part 
whatever in the insurrection, and that she was 
separated from her baby, who she knew must 
perish without her care. The gaoler told us 
she was subject to fits of great excitement, 
that her mind wandered strangely at times, 
and that the doctor said she was suffering 
from a form of milk fever. Her baby about 
whom she was then crying so bitterly was 
dead. All the female prisoners in the Con- 
vent of the Missionaries were accused of 
being members of a committee for nursing 
the sick and wounded insurgents, of holding 
seditious meetings in their houses, and of 
distributing the proclamations of the National 
Government. In solitary confinement, in one 
of the cells, I found a girl of between nineteen 

Lithuania. 53 

and twenty. She was accused of having 
secretly received insurgents in her house, 
where the oath of fidelity to the national cause 
was administered to them by a Catholic priest. 
The priest and some of the men to whom 
he had administered the oath were arrested, 
and all admitted the truth of the accusation 
made against them. But the girl, when con- 
fronted with them, denied that they had ever 
been to her house, or that she had ever seen 
them before in her life, and refused to answer 
any of the questions addressed to her by the 
court. It was evidently from a determination 
not to incriminate others that she persisted in 
her denial. She had been three weeks in 
solitary confinement ; she had no books to read, 
no companions to talk to, nothing to divert 
her mind from her own sad thoughts. She 
had no other fare than the rough prison diet, 
she saw no other faces than those of her gaolers, 
and was addressed by no other human voices 
than those of her judges. Yet her determina- 
tion to give no information as to the part she 
had taken in the insurrection seemed as deter- 

54 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

mined as ever. From her cell I went to that 
of the priest who was her accomplice. Nothing 
could be more remarkable than the contrast 
between the two. The moral force displayed 
by the girl seemed to be totally wanting in the 
man. He had already avowed all, and admitted 
his complicity with the young woman. He 
was an elderly, heavy-looking person, with a 
countenance in which there was a strange 
want of either dignity or intelligence. He 
closed the breviary he was reading when we 
entered, and stood before us with a crouching, 
broken-spirited look. He told his story over 
again without reservation. He then seized 
the hand of my friend, the colonel, and, in a 
voice broken with sobs, implored him to say 
if there were any danger of his being put to 
death. The colonel assured him there was 
not, for which information he showed a servile 
gratitude. We then entered a room where 
seven Catholic clergymen were confined. They 
all stood up when we appeared, and returned 
our salute in silence. They were grave, digni- 
fied-looking men. The oldest appeared to be 

Lithuania. 55 

about sixty, with white hair and a form pre- 
maturely bent. He, however, showed in the 
ascetic lines of his wan face the same passion- 
less serenity as his younger and stronger 
fellow-prisoners. They were all accused of 
inciting their flocks to take part in the insur- 
rection. From thence we went to a very large 
room, which had formerly been the refectory 
of the convent. Here were imprisoned more 
than thirty ladies of different ages, from 
seventeen to forty. Amongst the younger, 
some were very pretty, delicate-looking girls. 
But even the prettiest and most delicate 
amongst them when first spoken to assumed 
a defiant and rather fierce expression, which 
contrasted strangely with the soft outlines and 
gentle voice of youth. Their beauty, however, 
was not disfigured ; it was merely changed by 
the expression. They looked like young fal- 
cons that had just been caged, with eyes as 
proud and courage as undaunted. It was 
their hour for dinner. It was Friday, a day 
of abstinence in the Catholic Church. The 
food was therefore not very palatable. It 

56 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

consisted of vegetable soup, bread, and salt 
fish. It requires an appetite sharpened by 
active exercise in the open air to eat such a 
repast with pleasure. Very few of the por- 
tions served out were consequently eaten, and 
some were left almost untouched. 

In reply to my inquiries, those ladies who 
stood near me said, that in general the food 
given them, though plain, was good and whole- 
some in quality, and always more than suf- 
ficient in quantity. Some of the young girls, 
however, objected to being obliged to eat with 
a horn spoon and a pewter fork. They 
all spoke with more boldness and abandon 
than the male prisoners. None of them 
offered an excuse for having taken part in the 
insurrectionary movement, but, on the con- 
trary, seemed proud of what they had done, 
and regretted that they had not been able to 
give more efficient aid to the " national cause." 
I went apart with some of the oldest, who 
were all married women. We were out of 
hearing of the officers of the prison, whose 
proximity, I was afraid, might prevent them 

Lithuania. 57 

from speaking freely oil a subject which 
had been reported to the English and French 
Governments, and had caused a great deal of 
indignation. I asked these ladies to tell me 
with the same frankness that they had already 
shown in speaking on other subjects, if any of 
those who then heard me, or any of their 
friends or aquaintances, had been struck or 
beaten, or in any way outraged, by the Russian 
authorities. They all, with one voice, answered 
" No," and seemed surprised that I should have 
asked the question. They complained of the 
suddenness with which they had been hurried 
to prison, without being allowed to make 
sufficient preparation, of the bad accommoda- 
tion, and of their not being permitted to take 
exercise ; but with regard to insult or outrage, 
they persisted in saying there was no ground 
for such a charge. 

We then visited a room in which six young 
men were confined. These prisoners, as well 
as many others that I subsequently saw, 
amused themselves, or rather sought a diversion 
from their thoughts, by moulding different 

58 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

figures in bread. Some of these productions 
showed a great deal of art. I have several 
now in my possession. One is an obelisk, 
surrounded by a railing, and all the details, 
even to the bas-reliefs on the plinth and the 
tracery on the iron-work, are represented ; 
another is a pretty equestrian statue ; and a 
third is that of an old man with a long 
beard, who is leaning on a stick* All these 
figures are coloured either black or light 
brown, the materials being supplied by the 
prison authorities. One of the six young 
fellows to whom I have alluded made me a 
present of the figure of the old man with the 
long beard. It was so nicely executed, that I 
sent it as a curiosity to General Mouravieff. 
The artist had been an officer in the Russian 
army, but, on the breaking out of the insur- 
surrection, he joined a party of his fellow- 
Poles who had taken up arms against the 
Imperial Government, and, after many adven- 
tures, he was captured and sent a prisoner to 
Wilna. He looked in bad health, yet he 
assured us he was quite well, but that the 

Lithuania. 59 

sudden change from an active open-air life to 
the atmosphere of a prison did not improve 
his appearance. He thanked me for my visit 
to himself and his companions, and begged 
me to accept the statuette that I have men- 
tioned. I did not see him again till two days 
later. He was no longer breathing the atmo- 
sphere of a prison ; he was in the open air 
outside Wilna. He cast a glance of recogni- 
tion upon my friend and myself, who stood 
amongst the crowd, and then, whilst calmly 
offering his last prayer to Heaven, the signal 
was given, the soldiers fired, arid he lay still and 
dead before us the first ball had gone through 
his heart. This was Macovetzky, who was 
shot on the 29th of last August, in accordance 
with the sentence of a court-martial. Sen- 
tence had been pronounced, and the day fixed 
for his execution, when he gave me the 
statuette, but he knew nothing of his intended 
fate till he was led out to be shot. In the 
evening, when I was leaving General Moura- 
vieff's study, he said suddenly, "Ah, I had 
almost forgotten it ; here is something which 

60 Petersburg and Warsaw, 

belongs to you ; " and he took from his table 
and placed in my hand the statuette which 
had been given me by Macovetzky. I received 
it with a strange sensation : it seemed to me 
like a present from the dead. 

Lithuania. 6 1 



I ALSO visited the Dominican Convent, which 
had been fitted up as a prison. Here 
twenty-eight persons were confined, five of 
whom were accused of acts entailing the 
punishment of death. In the first cell which 
I entered was Bankowsky, the assistant sur- 
geon who had attempted to murder M. 
Domeiko. He was not alone. In the same 
room was a youth who seemed to belong to 
the humbler classes of society. He, because 
he had not received the entire sum promised 
him as an accomplice, " turned King's evi- 
dence," as it is termed in England, and assisted 
the police in capturing Benkowsky and his 
companion. The would-be murderer was 

62 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

quite ignorant of the real character of his 
neighbour, and looked upon him as a friend 
and fellow-unfortunate. The daring duplicity 
of the other was most extraordinary. Night 
and day he remained within a few feet of an 
assassin who had avowed his crime, and was 
awaiting his execution from hour to hour, and 
for whom there was no hope of pardon in this 
world. That doomed man he had helped to 
deliver into the hands of justice, and he was 
with him now as a spy upon his words and 
actions. It did not seem to occur to him 
that Benkowsky might, by some accident, 
discover his real character, and strangle him 
whilst he slept. 

The Poles, as a general rule, are a good- 
looking people, but Benkowsky had an ill- 
favoured, sinister look. His hair was of a 
black colour; he told us it was naturally 
fair, but that he had it dyed as a means of 
disguise. Being a surgeon, it was thought 
that he would be less sensible to human suf- 
fering than another, and that, moreover, his 
anatomical skill would enable him to use the 

Lithuania. 63 

poignard with more deadly effect. He was, 
therefore, enrolled amongst the band emplyoed 
by the " National Government " to assassinate 
those who were obnoxious to that body. He 
was chosen, in company with Marcefsky, to 
murder M. Domeiko, for which he was pro- 
mised a sum of money, the whole of which, 
however, he did not receive, for the money 
advanced for the expenses of his journey and 
of his stay in Wilna had been deducted. 
After the crime, he dressed himself in woman's 
clothes, and hid for some days outside the 
town in the cemetery. When he was captured 
at the railway station, he had with him a 
number of roubles which had been sent him 
by the " National Government." 

We then went to see Marcefsky. He 
seemed about the same age as Benkowsky, 
namely, twenty-six or seven. He was little 
more than five feet in height, with broad 
shoulders and a very massive head, in which 
what phrenologists call the organ of firmness 
was strongly developed. We then entered a 
large room in which were eleven prisoners. 

64 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

They, as well as all the accused that I saw in the 
Dominican Convent, looked at us in an anxious, 
feverish manner, as if they expected that we 
had brought with us some evil tidings. The 
reason, I subsequently learned, was, that seve- 
ral had only left the prison to be hanged or 
shot, and that it was considered by those 
confined there to be something like the Con- 
ciergerie at Paris at the time -of the first 
revolution, and that the prisoner left hope 
behind him on entering its gates. One of 
those who looked most anxiously at us was a 
well-dressed youth, whose brother had been 
executed a few days before. There were also 
a father and son. The father was an elderly, 
feeble-looking man, the son was tall and strong, 
and in the flower of youth. The father's eyes 
were blood-shot, and his face sallow and hag- 
gard. He sat on the side of his bed in an 
attitude of mute despair. They were both 
apothecaries in Wilna, and were accused of 
having supplied poison for anointing the dag- 
ger of Benkowsky. When I spoke to the son, 
he said that his father and himself were inca- 

Lithuania. 65 

pable of committing so infamous a crime. Yet 
he said he was willing to bear the ignominy of 
the accusation and to remain in prison till the 
case was cleared up ; " but oh, sir," he said, 
"beg of them, for God's sake, to have pity 
upon my poor old father. He is weak, his 
health is breaking fast. The shame of having 
such a crime imputed to him, whose whole 
life has been blameless, has had a more fatal 
effect upon him than the imprisonment or the 
fear of punishment. I implore you to get 
my father set at liberty, and they may act 
with me as they please." He then covered 
his face with his hands and burst into tears. 
A few hours later their case was laid before 
General Mouravieff, and, as the accusation 
turned out to be unfounded, both father and 
son were set at liberty. 

66 Petersburg and Warsaw. 



THE Military Court, in which all political 
cases are tried, holds its sittings in one of the 
houses in the suburbs. The President of the 
tribunal is Lieutenant -General Wesselitzky, 
who was well known to several of our officers 
on the cessation of hostilities at Sebastopol. 
This court sits with closed doors, and no 
stranger is admitted without a special permis- 
sion from General Mouravieff. Not only had 
I this permission, but the President, General 
Wesselitzky, gave orders to the door-keepers 
to admit me whenever I chose to coine. On 
my first visit I found in the ante-room of 
the court a young Catholic priest, awaiting his 
turn to be tried by the court-martial which 

Lithuania. 67 

was sitting within. Into this ante-room the 
prisoners are admitted one by one, when an 
officer, who is stationed there for the purpose, 
hands them a paper divided into two columns. 
One contains a series of printed questions, 
opposite to which, in the adjoining column, 
the prisoner is directed to write his answers. 
The questions are the names, age, place of 
birth, religion, and profession of the prisoner, 
and, lastly, a demand for a statement of the 
crime of which he is accused. The prisoner 
is not told by the court, as is the case in 
England, of the charge upon which he has 
been arrested ; he is left to say what he thinks 
it is, according to his conscience. 

The President, having politely offered me a 
seat at his table, handed me a list of the 
prisoners who were to be examined that day, 
and told me that I might choose from amongst 
them any that I wished to be tried in my 
presence. I requested that the Catholic priest 
I had seen in the ante-room should be placed 
at the bar. He was at once called in, and 
directed to sit down close to the table at which 


68 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

I was seated, so that I might without difficulty 
ask him any questions I pleased. He, as well 
as all the prisoners I saw brought before that 
court, displayed the same feverish, anxious 
manner that I had observed amongst the per- 
sons confined in the Dominican convent. 

In reply to my question, put through the 
court, the prisoner said he was arrested be- 
cause arms and ammunition had been found 
concealed in his house. The arms and ammu- 
nition were there without his knowledge, and 
had been placed in his house solely, he 
said, for the purpose of bringing him into 
trouble. He stated, that for some time before 
his arrest he had been preaching in favour of 
temperance, and met with so much success 
that the consumption of spirituous liquors 
amongst his parishioners had considerably di- 
minished. The Jews, who are the persons 
engaged in the commerce of vodka, or native 
brandy, in Wilna, were exasperated at the 
injury done to their trade. They annoyed 
him at times when he passed through the 
streets, and on one occasion they gathered in 

Lithuania. 69 

a crowd before his house, and broke the 
windows. The chief rioters were punished 
by the police, and, he said, that it was in 
revenge for this, as well as for his having 
preached against the use of ardent spirits, 
that some of the Jews hid the arms and am- 
munition in his house, and then laid informa- 
tions against him as one in league with the 
insurgents. His house was consequently 
searched, the arms and ammunition found, 
and he was imprisoned. 

Nearly opposite to the door by which I had 
entered the apartment where the court sat, 
was another door, opening into a corridor 
which led to the back of the building. In 
the upper panels of this door were bored two 
holes, of about half an inch in diameter. I 
observed that a human eye glittered through 
them occasionally, and then disappeared. Pre- 
vious to the coming of the priest into court, I 
asked the president for what these holes were 
used. He explained that when it was neces- 
sary to identify a prisoner, the witness who 
undertook to do so, peeped at the person on 

70 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

trial through one of these apertures, and then 
made his statement in the usual form to 
an officer of the tribunal by whom he was 
accompanied. The eyes which glared through 
these "judas" upon the apostle of tem- 
perance had not, I am happy to say, a 
baneful effect, for by order of General Moura- 
vieff he was set at liberty on the following 

A country lad who could neither read nor 
write was also put upon his trial. When told 
to sit down, he thought it was done in mockery, 
and refused. He explained that when a peasant 
sat down in the presence of gentlemen in his 
part of the country the peasant was always 
beaten. The prisoner had been taken after a 
conflict between the troops and the band to 
which he belonged. He stated that he was a 
shepherd, and that one night some of the in- 
surgent gendarmes, came to the hut in which 
he lived amongst his flocks, and told him they 
would hang him if he did not join their band. 
He joined them because he was afraid, he 
said, and because, moreover, they carried off 

Lithuania. 7 1 

several sheep, for which his master would be 
sure to bring him to account. 

To this statement, which was written down 
by a clerk, he put his mark in the same way 
as it is done in England by a person who does 
not know how to write. I had very little 
anxiety about his fate, for, as a general rule, 
all the peasants of Lithuania who were sent to 
prison for being implicated in the insurrection 
were, after a short detention, set at liberty. 

72 Petersburg and Warsaw. 



ONE morning that I called at the castle upon 
General Mouravieff, I found assembled in one 
of the ante-rooms, twenty-five Polish farmers, 
each one the deputy elected by his fellows to 
represent his parish. They were all tall, well- 
made, good-looking men ; they wore long 
surtouts of rough cloth, jack-boots, and wide 
breeches, and each had round his neck a brass 
chain, from which a medal of the same material 
was suspended. This was his badge of office 
as head man of the parish. When General 
Mouravieff came into the room, followed by a 
numerous staff, all in gorgeous uniforms, the 
generals wearing their stars and " cordons," 
the sturdy farmers, not in the least abashed by 

Lithuania. 73 

the presence of the redoubtable governor, or 
the splendour by which he was surrounded, 
bowed respectfully, but not servilely. At their 
head stood the clerk of the peace for the 
district, whom they had brought with them to 
read an address of thanks to the Emperor for 
having given them General Mouravieff for a 
governor, who, by his energy, had delivered 
them from the imposts and cruelties of the 

The General took the address, which he 
promised to send to 'the Emperor, and thanked 
them for the sentiments which they had ex- 
pressed towards himself. He asked them if 
there were still any insurgents in their part of 
the country. " Thank God," they said, " at 
present there are none, and we can now live 
quietly and happily." "No people in the 
world," said the oldest man amongst them, 
"could support two Governments without being 
ruined. We are obliged to pay taxes to the 
Emperor, and the gendarmes of the National 
Government took from us money and provi- 
sions as they thought proper, and threatened 

74 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

us with death if we complained. They were 
the stronger, and we were obliged to submit. 
But since you, General, have come amongst 
us, our properties are protected from plunder, 
and our families from outrage. We are very 
happy to live under the Emperor, who is the 
father and friend of the peasants, whereas the 
insurgents have in every way acted towards 
us as enemies." 

" If you catch any insurgents," said General 
, Mouravieff, " bring them to me, and they shall 
be punished. But you must not take the law 
into your own hands, and punish them your- 
selves. You must also remember your duties 
towards your landlords, for I will suffer no in- 
fraction of the law under that head ; landlord 
and tenant, noble and peasant, are all alike the 
children of the Emperor, whose wish is that 
you shall all live happily and contentedly to- 
gether." The General then wished them a 
pleasant journey back to their homes, and 
they withdrew. 

What struck me as remarkable in these 
peasants, as well as in the others that I sub- 

Lithuania. 75 

sequeutly saw at the castle, where they had 
come with addresses to the Emperor, was, that 
they spoke out as calmly and boldly in the pre- 
sence of the terrible Mouravieff and his staff 
of generals and court chamberlains, as a mem- 
ber of parliament would address the ministerial 
benches. Each seemed fully impressed with 
the importance of his position as a popular 
representative, chosen by the free voices of 
his fellow -citizens, to express their wishes to 
the governing powers. 

Amongst the members of one of the deputa- 
tions which arrived at the castle, whilst I was 
at Wilna, were twelve peasants who lived upon 
the crown lands. They wore the same form 
of costume as their companions, but it was of 
darker colour, and was bound with gold lace. 
With their low-crowned hats, ornamented with 
a peacock's feather, open shirt-collar, loose 
caftan, and long boots, they were exactly like 
the figures seen in a Polish ballet at Her 
Majesty's Theatre. 

76 Petersburg and Warsaw. 



AT about five miles from Wilna is the 
country seat of Prince Seyne Wittgenstein, at 
present military agent for the Russian Govern- 
ment at Paris. Werkey is the name of the 
place. Every stranger who stops for any 
time at Wilna is expected to visit Werkey. 
I, consequently, determined to go thither, if 
I could get an escort to protect me from any 
disagreeable mistakes on the part of either 
Cossack or insurgent along the road. The 
landlord of the hotel, however, assured me 
that for leagues round Wilna the country 
was quiet and orderly. The coachman, 
he said, knew the road ; and he gave me 
a note for his friend, the Prince's game- 

Lithuania. 77 

keeper, who would show me the house and 

We drove past the church of St. John, and 
by the public garden, across the open space in 
front of the cathedral, and in a few minutes 
more crossed the long, low, wooden bridge 
which spans the river. The ground, which 
rises rather abruptly on the other side, is 
crowned by a church, in front of which, and 
overlooking the road by which we ascended, is 
a gigantic figure of Our Saviour carrying the 
cross, which is held in particular veneration 
by the Catholics of Wilna. When we reached 
the table-land above the church, the view we 
obtained of the city and its environs was 
picturesquely beautiful. Wilna is built upon 
undulating ground ; on each eminence is seen 
the sharply pointed red-tiled roof of some 
monastery, with its quaint belfry, blackened 
by time, rising solemnly behind, or an old 
clock tower, with its high pyramidal roof 
surmounted by its vane and cross. Here and 
there, in breaks amongst the houses, are seen 
waving acacias and slender poplars, their 

7 8 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

green contrasting pleasantly with whitened 
wall, red-tiled roof, and sombre tower. 

Below, on the level ground, flows the Villa, 
a bright limpid river, now hidden by a rising 
ground or clump of trees, now flashing like 
burnished silver in the warm autumnal sun. 
On the bank of this river, opposite the town, 
is a hill which rises sharply high in the 
air, and on its summit is the citadel. Seen 
from the road to Werkey it stands apart, like 
a Greek acropolis ; but the soft verdure, the 
terraced walks, and the mediaeval outline of 
the fort itself, give it more the appearance of 
the stronghold of some feudal margrave. 

After stopping for some time to admire the 
view which I have attempted to describe, we 
proceeded towards Werkey. At little more 
than half-way, we passed the residence of 
the Greek Archbishop of Wilna. It is a 
handsome pile of building, composed of the 
archiepiscopal palace, and a church, to which 
recent additions give something of a Byzantine 
character. This edifice, I believe, formerly 
belonged to the Catholics. It is beautifully 

Lithuania. 79 

situated in the midst of handsome gardens, 
backed by a hill covered to the summit with 
trees. On the front side, the land falls in a 
gentle slope about a hundred yards to the 
river which here flows on, broad, and calm, 
and deep. Barges and rafts were gliding 
slowly along its surface, and on the opposite 
side were wide pastures dotted with cattle, 
and, beyond, a fringe of woodland fading away 
into the blue distance. After passing the 
Archbishop's residence, the road lies through 
dense woods for a mile or so, and then winds 
up the side of a steep hill, on the broad 
summit of which stands the chateau of 
Werkey. The well macadamised road, with 
a strong wooden pailing on one side separating 
it from a dark ravine, through which, hidden 
by tangled brushwood, tumbles a noisy 
stream, the handsome gateway, the lodge, the 
gravelled avenue, the velvet lawn, and the 
white walls of the mansion peeping out from 
amongst the trees, made me for a moment 
fancy that I was in the grounds of one of our 
English noblemen. 

8o Petersburg and Warsaw. 



THE Princes of Seyne Wittgenstein are of 
German origin. The first of the family es- 
tablished in Russia was the celebrated Field- 
Marshal, so often mentioned in the des- 
patches of Napoleon I., during the memorable 
campaign of 1812. A son of the Marshal 
married the Princess Radzovill, heiress in her 
own right to the chateau and lands of Werkey, 
and the other possessions belonging to that 
branch of the great Lithuanian family. The 
present prince is the offspring of this marriage. 
In the dining-hall of the chateau is a well- 
painted full-length portrait of the Marshal, 
and in the same room is another picture which 
does not possess so much artistic merit, repre- 

Lithuania,. 8 1 

senting the late prince and princess as a 
knight and lady of the middle ages on a 
hawking expedition, and the present prince 
appears as a little page holding a greyhound 
in a leash. Here is also a rudely-executed 
portrait of the beautiful Barbara Radzovill, 
who was married secretly to Sigismond 
Augustus, King of Poland, after the death 
of his first wife, an Archduchess of Austria. 
When Sigismond proclaimed to the nation 
his marriage with Barbara, the nobles, urged 
on by Sigismond's mother, demanded that the 
marriage should be annulled. But Sigismond 
loved his beautiful wife too dearly to act 
traitorously towards her, either for the frowns 
of his mother, or the threats of his nobles. 
" How can you expect your king to be faithful 
to you, if he is not faithful to his wife ? " 
exclaimed Sigismond, addressing the nobles. 
He was willing to resign the crown, he said, 
but he would never abandon his beloved 
Barbara. Sigismond's chivalrous determination 
prevailed ; the nobles acknowledged Barbara as 
their queen, vied with each other in showing 


82 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

her their devotion, and even her mother-in-law 
became her friend. But poor Barbara's whole 
being was wrapped up in her love for Sigis- 
mond, and the attempt to tear him from 
her so affected her health that she pined away, 
and died six months after her mother-in-law 
and the nobles had demanded her divorce. 
More than three hundred years have gone by 
since Queen Barbara's death, but stories of 
her loveliness and worth, her sufferings and 
her early death, are still heard in the long 
winter evenings, round the stove of the 
Lithuanian peasant. 

On the oaken panelling of the dining-hall 
are grouped trophies of antique arms, and 
standing around are suits of mail, with helm 
and lance and closed vizor, the grim iron 
.shells of departed knights of the house of 

In the other rooms are one or two paintings 
of merit, and there is a very good copy of 
Correggio's " Christ arguing with the doctors," 
the original of which is in the National Caller * 
in London. 

Lithuania. 83 



WE visited the preserves at Werkey, which 
are swarming with game, the grounds not 
having been shot over for a considerable time. 
Since the breaking out of the insurrection the 
prince's gamekeepers have not been allowed 
to carry guns. 

In one part of the park where a clearing 
had been made in the centre of a plantation 
of fir-trees a cock was tied by a long string 
to a peg driven into the ground. Upon four 
upright posts a strong net was loosely hung, 
forming a square of about six feet about the 
place where the cock was attached. This net 
was for catching eagles and other birds of 
prey. Attracted by the crowing of the cock 


84 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

they perch upon the branch of some neigh- 
bouring tree, and making a sudden swoop 
upon their intended victim, they are caught 
in the meshes of the net. The gamekeeper 
told me that several eagles, hawks, and vul- 
tures, had been captured in this manner. 
They were all found entangled close to the 
ground, none having ever darted vertically 
downwards, when they would have- been sure 
of their prey, for the net is entirely open at 
the top. 

In another part of the grounds were several 
hundred head of deer, who came trooping out 
from their leafy hiding-places at the call of the 
gamekeeper. But the most remarkable sight 
in the park was a family of bisons, consisting 
of a male and female and a young one. They 
were confined in a field surrounded by a high 
paling. They had a wooden shed in which 
to sleep, and their food was passed to them 
through a small door in the inclosure. They 
seemed very savage and irritable. They had 
been brought from a forest at several miles 
distant, where the bison is found wild. It is a 

Lithuania. 8 5 

strange fact in natural history that, throughout 
the entire Russian empire, it is only within 
the precincts of this forest that the bisons live 
healthily, and continue to multiply. When 
removed, even to a little distance from their 
native haunts, they sicken and die in a short 
time. Several attempts have been made to 
acclimatize them at Werkey, but all without 
success. Those that I saw, though the food 
they were supposed to like best was given 
them in abundance, were unhealthy and 
suffering, the gamekeeper told me, and would 
evidently end as their predecessors had ended. 
In their native woods they are shy and timid, 
and fly at, the approach of a passenger, but 
when shut up as they were at Werkey, they 
become fierce and dangerous. 

86 Petersburg and Warsaw. 



IT was late in the evening when I again 
found myself on the height above the wooden 
bridge which crosses the Vilia, at the entrance 
to Wilna. In the closing shades of evening 
I could no longer distinguish those features in 
the landscape which had excited my admira- 
tion some hours before. The town was wrapped 
in the sober livery of twilight, the busy hum 
of its population was growing gradually fainter, 
and the impatient rush of the river broke 
more distinctly upon the ear. It was the same 
Vilia upon the bank of which Napoleon I. 
had stood, at the head of a countless host, 
fifty-one years before. He was then in the 
neighbourhood of Kovno. The Cossacks had 

Lithuania. 87 

destroyed the bridge, and prevented the pas- 
sage of Oudinot's corps. Napoleon, in a moment 
of irritation, ordered a squadron of his Polish 
body-guard to ford the river. Obedient to the 
order, they at once plunged in, but the waters 
were deep and the current strong. They tried 
to swim their horses to the opposite bank, but 
in vain. Horses and men sunk and rose in a 
frightful struggle with death, and, when all 
hope was over and the Polish horsemen saw 
their fate inevitable, they turned their eyes 
towards Napoleon, who stood calm and motion- 
less upon the bank, and, shouting with their 
remaining strength " Vive I'Empereur!" sunk 
to rise no more. The whole squadron perished. 
The French soldiers upon the bank, unable to 
render assistance, were struck with horror and 
admiration. The superstitious amongst them 
looked upon the incident as a bad omen, as 
they had already pronounced it to be an 
ominous warning when on the bank of the 
Niemen, not very many hours before, the 
horse of the emperor stumbled and fell, rolling 
his imperial rider in the dust. It was on the 

88 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

day succeeding that latter accident that the 
first of the invading army stood upon the soil 
of Russia. On the evening of the 24th of 
June a party of sappers crossed the Niemen 
in a small boat. Arrived on the opposite bank, 
they were surprised to find themselves in com- 
plete solitude. After a time a Cossack officer, 
at the head of a few of his men, emerged 
from a neighbouring wood, and, riding towards 
the sappers, asked them who they were and 
what brought them to Russia. "We are 
Frenchmen," answered a sapper, "we have 
come to fight the Russian army, to take Wilna, 
and to deliver Poland ; " upon which the Cos- 
sacks rode away, but as they were disappearing 
through the wood they were fired at by three 
of the sappers. Those were the first shots 
fired by the invading army in Russia. 




IF bad omens could have influenced the 
conduct of Napoleon I. when he appeared on 
the Russian frontier at the head of more than 
half a million of men, he would have hesitated 
before he embarked in that disastrous cam- 
paign. Napoleon advanced from Kovno to 
the neighbourhood of Wilna, hoping that the 
Russian army would have defended the capital 
of Lithuania. But such were not the tactics 
of the Czar. The Russian generals had deter- 
mined to adopt the old Scythian system of 
drawing the invaders as far as possible into 
the interior of the country, and then leaving 
the chief work to be done by their best ally 
the terrible northern winter. 

90 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

The gates of Wilna were open wide, and 
Napoleon rode through its streets at the head 
of his Polish guard amidst enthusiastic shouts 
of welcome from the Lithuanian population. 
But he was insensible to the ovation ; this 
absence of all resistance fell upon his mind as 
the first dark shadow of the coming disasters 
of the campaign. The Russian army had 
retired in the direction of Drissa: Napoleon 
ordered Murat and his cavalry to follow in 
their track, and Ney to move on his left to the 
support of Oudinot, who had that day come 
up with Wittgenstein and driven him with 
loss from Develtovo to Wilkomir. It was 
amongst his advanced posts to which he had 
ridden from Wilna, that he gave these orders. 
He then returned back into the town and took 
up his quarters in the palace, which had just 
been vacated by the Emperor Alexander, and 
which is at present occupied by General 

Lithuania. 91 



IN the boudoir of Madame Mouravieff is a 
writing-table of moderate size. The frame is 
of rosewood, the centre is covered with green 
cloth, the edges of the table are bordered with 
gilt brass, and a light railing of the same 
material, of three inches high, runs along the 
back and comes half way down on each side. 
It was at this table that Napoleon I. wrote 
his despatches directing the operations of his 
generals for the conquest of Russia, and at this 
table he wrote his instructions to his ministers 
at Paris with regard to the policy to be pursued 
throughout Europe, of whose fate he then con- 
sidered himself the sovereign arbitrator. A 
few days before taking up his quarters in 

92 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

Wilna, he issued the following proclamation to 
his army : 

" Soldiers ! The second Polish war has 
commenced. The first ended at Friedland 
and Tilsit. At Tilsit, Russia swore to maintain 
an eternal alliance with France, and to wage 
war with England. She has violated hef oaths 
and refuses to give any explanation of her 
strange conduct, until the French eagles have 
re-passed the Rhine and left our allies at her 
mercy. Russia is hurried along by fate her 
destiny will be fulfilled. Does she think us 
degenerated? Are we not the same soldiers 
that fought at Austerlitz ? She has placed us 
between dishonour and war. There can be no 
doubt as to our choice. Let us, then, advance ; 
let us pass the Niemen, and carry the war 
into her territory. The second Polish war 
will be glorious for the French arms, as was 
the first ; but the peace which we shall con- 
clude will carry with it its guarantee : it will 
put an end to the fatal influence which Russia 
for fifty years has exercised upon the affairs of 

Lithuania. 93 

At the same time Alexander also issued an 
address to his army, and a French historian 
says, that in these two productions might have 
been seen the characters of the two emperors, 
and of the two peoples over which they ruled. 
The Russian proclamation was a defence ; the 
French was an accusation. The first was sim- 
ple and moderate, the other defiant and in a 
tone prophetic of victory. Alexander invoked 
the aid of heaven ; Napoleon spoke only of 
fate. The former appealed to the love of home 
and country ; the latter to the love of glory 
and the pleasures of conquest. But neither 
one nor the other spoke of the independence of 
Poland, which Napoleon had, however, pre- 
viously stated to be the real object of the 

One of the Emperor Napoleon's despatches, 
dated Wilna, July 9th, 1812, is written with 
that certitude of success which it was natural 
should be felt by the master of an army of 
600,000 men. Its tone contrasts strangely 
with a despatch written from the same town, 
and in the same palace, five months later. 

94 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

Napoleon, writing from Wilna, 9th July, 
says : 

" Cousin, consider the last letter I wrote to 
you for the Duke of Tarento as non-avenue, 
and substitute for it the following : 

"The Duke de Reggio has received orders 
to advance upon Solok, the Duke d'Elchingen 
upon Kozatschizna ; the King of Naples is at 
Widzy. The enemy appears to- concentrate at 
Dunaburg. The Prince d'Echmulh has arrived 
at Minsk. The Hetman Platoff with his 
Cossacks, and the corps of Bragation who 
thought to move upon that town, have been 
cut off, and have gone towards Bobrmsk. 
They are pursued by the King of Westphalia ; 
they were yesterday at Mir. The Viceroy is 
marching towards the Duna ; the Guard and 
the head-quarters ought to leave this in a few 
days. The Emperor intends to march upon 
Moscow and St. Petersburg, and from thence 
force the army which is at Dunaburg to return 
up, and he will liberate the whole of Courland 
and Livonia. 

" The garrison of Riga, commanded by 

Lithuania. 95 

General Esseii, whose army has been dismem- 
bered, is composed of thirty-three battalions, 
each consisting of two or three hundred men. 
They are all recruits of this year, and are not 
worthy of attention. It is possible that as soon 
as the place is threatened, a division from 
Diinaburg will march there, for, according to 
the information we have received, the present 
garrison is not sufficient for its defence," &c. 

Five months later the following order, dated 
Wilna, December 9th, was sent to Comte 
Daru : 

" The King has removed his head-quarters 
to the barrier of Kovno. The Duke d'Elchiri- 
gen conducts the retreat, and will leave to- 
morrow as late as he can. Send off the trea- 
sure during the night. I have ordered Gene- 
ral Eble to give the horses of the artillery if 
it is necessary. Everything must be done to 
save it. Let it be brought to-night to the 
head-quarters at the barrier of Kovno, where 
we will have it escorted. 

" Distribute, without anv slow official forms, 

96 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

and in abundance, provisions and clothing to 
all those who ask for them, as the position of 
the enemy forbids the hope of being able to 
hold out all day to-morrow at Wilna. Join 
the head-quarters to-night, and set everything 
going to evacuate upon Kovno, if that seems 

Flight from Wilna. 97 



IT was on that same 9th of December that a 
portion of the wreck of the mighty army, 
which Napoleon had assembled for the con- 
quest of Russia, arrived half dead with cold 
and hunger in the streets of Wilna. There 
were in that town stores of flour, bread, and 
meat, sufficient to feed 100,000 men for more 
than a month; but such was the confusion 
and helplessness which existed, even amongst 
the chiefs, that no one thought of distributing 
these provisions amongst the unfortunate 
beings who had struggled on as far as Wilna, 
in the hope of there finding shelter and food. 
Some had crawled to the hospitals, and died 
upon the stairs and in the passages. The 

98 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

doors of the barracks were blocked up with 
dead bodies heaped one upon the other. Thou- 
sands, weak from hunger and fatigue, sunk in 
the streets and were frozen to death. At 
length, after ten hours' delay, some relief was 
given to the survivors. 

The Lithuanians from pity, and the Jews 
on payment, received them into their houses. 
But scarcely had they begun to feel the un- 
wonted pleasure of heat and food, than the 
roar of the Russian artillery was heard at the 
gates of Wilna. 

Again all was confusion. The drums beat 
to arms, but none, not even the soldiers of 
the Old Guard, answered the appeal. A cry 
had risen "the Cossacks are coming!" and 
all, veteran and recruit, officer and private, 
all who had strength, fled through the streets 
in wild disorder. 

Murat himself, in the midst of the confusion, 
lost his presence of mind. He hurried out of 
the palace on foot, and was borne along by the 
reeling crowd till he reached the extremity of 
the suburbs on the road to Kovno. There he 

Flight from Wilna. 99 

stopped, till he found means of communicating 
with Ney. The marshal, who had volunteered 
to take charge of the rear-guard, retired from 
Wilna not many hours after, and a cloud of 
Cossacks under Platoff immediately swept 
down upon the town. 

The treasure, consisting of 10,000,000 of 
francs in gold and silver, and the Emperor's 
baggage, had been pushed on in front of the 
3,000 men with whom Ney tried to protect 
the retreat. But at about a league from 
Wilna all attempt at order was abandoned; 
and the flying crowd, seeing themselves closely 
pressed by the enemy, determined to anti- 
cipate the capture of the carriages bearing 
the treasure, by plundering them themselves. 
Not only the men of the escort, but those of 
the rear-guard, as they came up, threw down 
their arms, to join in the terrible and even 
sanguinary struggle which took place between 
French soldiers for the possession of a portion 
of the treasure or of the valuable effects of 
their Emperor. So absorbed were they by 
the thirst of plunder, that they took no heed 
H 2 

ioo Petersburg and Warsaw. 

of the Cossacks, bodies of whom had already 
come up with the French. But they, too, 
at the sight of the gold and silver and the 
Emperor's costly baggage, forgot their work of 
slaughter in a desire for pillage. 

Such was one of the last terrible episodes 
in the campaign of 1812, of which the neigh- 
bourhood of Wilna was the scene. Nearly 
20,000 French, unable or unwilling to move 
unable from their wounds, or unwilling in the 
reckless apathy of despair were left behind in 
the capital of Lithuania, which was then little 
better than a vast charnel-house. Amongst the 
living men thus abandoned were 300 officers 
and seven generals. 

As the above passages in the history of the 
terrible Russian campaign of 1812 recurred to 
my memory, I drove slowly across the bridge 
which crosses the Vilia, and through the silent 
streets of the town to my hotel. There were 
still the same houses from which the wounded 
French had been flung to be trampled under 
the hoofs of the charging Cossacks ; there were 
the same streets that had been the scene of the 

Flight from Wilna. 101 

triumphant entry of the great Emperor, and 
that, a few months later, flowed with the blood 
of the panic-stricken wreck of his mighty army. 
Nearly a whole generation has passed away 
since then, but the dark pages of the world's 
history which record that dreadful war are still 
read, and will be read to the end of all time, 
with the same wonder and admiration, and the 
same shuddering horror, as when they were first 
written. And Napoleon himself, whose legions 
were commanded by kings and sovereign 
princes, whose relatives and whose favourites 
sat upon half the thrones of Europe, and who 
for a time seemed to hold in his hands the 
destinies of the world, died a helpless, broken- 
hearted exile on a rock in the midst of the 
ocean, with half the globe between him and 
the scenes of his glory. 

IO2 Petersburg and Warsaw. 



DURING my stay in Wilna, I was witness on 
several occasions to a solemn act of submis- 
sion made by repentant insurgents. They 
were all Catholics, and gentlemen by birth. 
The ceremony on each occasion that I was 
present took place in the church of St. John. 
The ex-insurgents, on entering, went in a body 
within the railing which separates . the great 
altar from the aisle. Here they knelt and 
joined in the prayers which were offered up 
by the officiating clergyman. The prayers 
over, the clergyman turned to a reading desk 
in the centre of the enclosure, on which stood 
a copy of the Holy Testament, open at the 
passage containing the words of our Saviour, 

, Repentant Insurgents. 103 

" Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and 
give to God what belongs to God." 

Upon this text the clergyman preached in 
the following sense : 

He said that the Catholic Church had at 
all times exhorted the faithful, in countries 
where civil strife existed, to remember the 
words of our Divine Lord, which he had 
quoted. "We are bound," he continued, "to 
obey those who rule over us, and to pray for 
their welfare, that we may lead a happy and 
peaceable life. It was said at the beginning 
of the insurrection, that it was, in a great 
measure, a struggle between the Catholic and 
the Greek faith. That assertion was made 
for the purpose of gaming the sympathies of 
a large party among the Poles, and also of 
the faithful in foreign countries. But, after a 
time, it was seen that the chief promoters of 
the insurrection were men without faith, and 
whose aim was, not only a war against the 
Emperor, but against all divine and social 

"If the Church," he continued, "con- 

IO4 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

demned open rebellion, how much more 
strongly must it condemn the dreadful crime 
of murder, which, during the insurrection, had 
been so often perpetrated by the agents of 
the so-called ' National Government/ It was 
murder of the foulest and darkest kind, 
effected by paid assassins. This crime was 
committed, always in the name of their 
country, and often in the name of Heaven. 
The men who instigated others to the perpe- 
tration of these atrocities did not hesitate to 
brand with the foul and indelible stigma of 
assassin, the Polish name; and, in their impious 
daring, they invoked the name of Heaven as 
if Heaven were an accomplice of their wicked- 
ness. Horrors such as these are sufficient 
to bring down upon a people the anger of 
the Almighty/' 

" The Church," he said, " has at all times 
condemned secret societies ; for it is crime 
which hides in darkness and secrecy, whilst 
what is pure and good fears not the light of 
day. No form of secret society is tolerated 
by the Catholic Church, and they who belong 

Repentant Insurgents. 105 

to such societies have, by that act, brought 
upon themselves the penalty of excommuni- 

" Let us humbly beseech the Almighty, that 
in His mercy he will turn aside his wrath 
from us and from our brethren." 

" May your example be followed by all who 
are still openly, or covertly, opposed to the 
Government which has been set over us by 
Heaven. May your protest against violence 
and bloodshed, falsehood and assassination, be 
shared in by the entire Polish people, so that 
the Emperor may be able to put into execution 
his benevolent intentions towards our unfor- 
tunate nation. Let us humbly pray that all the 
horrors of this fratricidal strife may speedily 
come to an end, and that peace and good- will 
may again prevail in the land ; and that the 
entire Polish people may feel that their only 
true friend here below is the Emperor Alex- 
ander ; and that once, when they have entered 
into the path of duty, as you have done, that 
his Majesty, in the benevolence of his heart, 
will forget the past, and that he will then 

io6 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

bestow upon his Polish subjects those laws 
and institutions which will enable them to 
become contented, prosperous and happy." 

The oath of allegiance to the Czar was then 
slowly read by the clergyman, and repeated, 
word for word, by the Polish gentlemen. Each 
of them then came forward in his turn, and 
kissed the Holy Testament at the place where 
the words of our Saviour, which I have quoted 
above, were printed, after which, they all set 
their names beneath the written copy of the 
oath which they had taken. 

The organ of the church, which is a very 
splendid one, and celebrated throughout the 
country, then pealed forth a triumphant hymn. 
It imitates with wonderful effect a complete 
orchestra, with drums, loud twanging trum- 
pets, and clashing cymbals. At the first 
harmonious outburst, I fancied that a large 
band of musicians was stationed in the choir, 
till I looked, and saw that the great resound- 
ing melody was the work of the solitary 

The crowd then began to stream slowly 

Repentant Insurgents. 107 

through the aisles, and the Polish gentlemen 
who had subscribed to the oath of allegiance, 
having descended the steps of the altar, were 
embraced with tears of joy by their relatives 
and friends. 

io8 Petersburg and Warsaw. 



I HAVE remarked at the beginning of these 
pages, that when I arrived from St. Petersburg 
at the Wilna station I found it as free from 
police regulations as the station at Windsor. 
On several occasions I rode alone and unat- 
tended over miles of country in the Wilna 
district. In my excursions I met with neither 
gendarme, nor soldier, nor Polish insurgent, 
and the inhabitants that I encountered in the 
villages or along the road were civil, and even 
kind whenever I had occasion to ask them for 
information about the way, or the places where 
I could obtain refreshment. On holidays and 
Sundays, I remarked that itinerant musicians 

State of Lithuania. 109 

plied their trade, and that the peasantry danced 
and sang, and that there were all the other 
outward signs of rejoicing that mark the feast 
days in Russian villages. 

On the St. Petersburg line, for several 
leagues before reaching Wilna, the stations 
were guarded by armed peasants, who had 
volunteered to perform that duty. Their 
offer was readily accepted by the local govern- 
ment, who supplied them with muskets and 

In the streets of Wilna, barrel organs and 
mountebanks were met with as in the streets 
of St. Petersburg, and the population were 
free to move about at every hour of the 
twenty-four. For the convenience of travellers 
arriving or starting by the different trains, 
the hotels were open all night, and carriages 
plied for hire between sunset and sunrise 
for the same charges, and with the same 
freedom, as during the day. 

Deputations were constantly arriving at the 
" Chateau, " with addresses to the Emperor 
Alexander, and solemn acts of submission in 

1 10 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

the principal churches, by the Polish gentry 
who had taken part in the insurrection, were 
of equally frequent occurrence. The Catholic 
clergy preached in the pulpit against the revolt, 
and some of the dignitaries amongst them 
issued mandates to their flocks in favour of 
peace and order, and exhorting obedience to 
the law r s of the Imperial Government. 

The terrorism which the " National Govern- 
ment " attempted to exercise by means of 
assassination had entirely failed ; and, whilst 
the news arrived from Warsaw by nearly every 
train, that murders were perpetrated in open 
day in the streets of that city, a passenger in the 
capital of Lithuania enjoyed the same security 
as if he traversed the streets of St. Petersburg. 
Persons who did not think proper, or to whom 
it was inconvenient, to comply with the childish 
edict of the <c National Government," for 
adopting a sort of masquerading costume, were 
not insulted when they went abroad, and no 
threats were used against those Poles, lay or 
clerical, who openly protested against the in- 
surrection, or who gave in their adhesion to 

State of Lithuania. 1 1 1 

the Imperial Government. Lithuania, as far 
as I could see, was not only pacified, but a 
complete revulsion had taken place in the 
feelings of those who, either from religion, or 
race, or political feeling, had taken part in the 

I have reason to believe that this compara- 
tively sudden change, from the wild excesses 
of civil war to the calm of ordinary life, was 
not entirely owing to the rigorous measures 
adopted by General Mouravieff. History 
shows us that no system of severity, short 
of a general extermination, can produce that 
result, where the rising is of an entire and 
united people. Armed resistance may be 
put down by superior force ; the flames of 
rebellion may be extinguished ; but, beneath 
the embers, the fire will still smoulder, to break 
out again with the same fury when fanned 
by the first breath of revolution. 

It was not an army of 120,000 men, said 
General Mouravieff, that was necessary for the 
suppression of the insurrection, but a good 
administration. " It will be found on exami- 

1 1 2 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

nation," he remarked to ine on another oc- 
casion, "that less blood has been shed in 
Lithuania in restoring order, than has been 
shed in the kingdom of Poland up to the 
present time. My edicts," he continued, 
" were sternly worded, and it was known that I 
would act up to them if necessary ; but, in the 
Kingdom, the conciliatory tone of the Govern- 
ment was looked upon as a sign of weakness, 
which, encouraging the revolt, made the ne- 
cessity for exemplary punishment more fre- 
quent. It was similar to a man caressing 
with one hand whilst he struck with the other." 
It is probable that if the blood-stained 
columns were summed up, the result would 
prove that General Mouravieff s calculation 
was correct. But it is more than probable 
that it was not entirely the iron will of the 
Governor-General of Wilna, nor the excellence 
of his administrative powers, which brought 
the revolt in Lithuania to so speedy a ter- 
mination ; it was rather this simple fact that 
the insurrection had never taken any deep root 
in that province. 

State of Lithuania. 1 13 

It will be seen by statistical returns, that 
the great mass of the inhabitants of Lithuania 
are of the Eastern Church, and they are, 
consequently, by education and sentiment, as 
thoroughly Russian as the people of Moscow 
or Novogorod, especially the inhabitants of 
the eastern part of the province ; whilst those 
who, from race, religion, or sympathy, enter- 
tained the idea of a Polish nationality, are in 
a minority, composed of some of the landed 
proprietors, the small gentry, and a portion 
of the tradespeople in the large towns. 

The insurrection in Lithuania was, compared 
to that in the kingdom of Poland, merely super- 
ficial; it had no hold on the popular mind, 
and its only effect has been to weld that pro- 
vince more closely than ever with the Russian 
Empire, and to render, for the future, all hope 
of exciting revolt, in favour of a Polish national 
cause, in that part of the Czar's dominions, 
utterly desperate. 

As an Englishman, living under a consti- 
tutional government, my sympathies would 
naturally be enlisted on the side of a people 

1 14 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

struggling for their natural rights. But I 
saw from the beginning that the cause of the 
Polish nation was helpless, that it was an use- 
less effusion of blood, a wanton courting of 
suffering and ruin. I knew that Poland had 
nothing to hope from foreign intervention. I 
knew from the best source that one of the 
Great Powers, upon whose aid she most 
fondly reckoned, had only the year before 
entered into negotiations with the Russian 
Government for the formation of an alliance, 
by which that Power offered to bind itself to 
aid the Czar in his domestic and foreign 
policy, provided the Emperor Alexander con- 
nived at certain projects of aggrandizement on 
the part of his ally. The same doubt which 
induced Russia to decline the proffered alli- 
ance subsequently cast its shadow over the 
cabinets of London and Vienna, and finally 
awakened something like fear in the minds of 
statesmen at Berlin. I knew that England 
would not, that France could not, and that 
Austria dare not give material assistance to 
Poland. To whom, then, were the Poles to 

State of Lithuania. 115 


turn for help ? They had nothing to expect 
from without, and they were too weak to carry 
on the struggle alone. Amidst the slaughter 
of insurgent bands, amidst the hangings and 
the shootings, not a single arm was stretched 
out in their defence. Sharp despatches, slash- 
ing articles, and eloquent harangues were 
made in their favour, and the effect of this 
was to awaken false hopes which encouraged 
them to resistance, and which widened the 
dark field of ruin and despair. 

It is evident, then, that there is no earthly 
chance of safety for the Poles, but to give up 
the struggle and trust to the promises of the 
Emperor Alexander. It is not to be supposed 
that the sovereign could act ungenerously, 
who has given freedom to millions of his 
fellow-men, not as we gave freedom to our 
negro slaves when we released them from their 
owners, and then abandoned them to their 
own resources, but who, when he emancipated 
the serfs, gave them the means of living in 
comfort and independence. History offers no 
example of an action so noble, and it is 

1 1 6 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

against reason to suppose that the sovereign, 
who has so acted, can look otherwise than 
with sorrow upon the sufferings which the 
Poles have, in a great measure, brought upon 
themselves ; or that he can entertain any other 
wish than to see temperate laws, order, and 
contentment, take the place of military rule, 
and the horrors of civil war. 

In quoting the above facts, -I wished to 
show that there was no other alternative left to 
the Poles than to submit, and then trust to 
the generosity of the Emperor ; and I hope in 
God, that by the time this work comes before 
the public, that the Polish nation will have 
seen that the advice is a sound one, and that 
their future prosperity, happiness, and free- 
dom, will be best secured by placing faith in 
the words of the Czar. 

Warsaw. \ \ y 



ON the third of September, at half-past 
four o'clock in the morning, I left Wilna for 
Warsaw. At the different stations along the 
line guards of soldiers were drawn up, and 
officers of every grade from general to ensign, 
all in full uniform, were standing about. Rail- 
way officials displayed an exuberance of zeal, 
and their badges of block-tin were unusually 
resplendent. Some wonderful Frenchman, con- 
nected with the mysterious company that had 
originally received the concession for this de- 
lectable line of railway, rushed madly up and 
down whenever the train stopped, shouting out 
hoarse words of command to the guards and 
engine-drivers; and, when they had worked 

1 1 8 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

themselves into a perspiration, they jumped 
into their waggon, from which they emerged 
again at the next station to go through the 
same ceremony. Like all Frenchmen of their 
class now-a-days, they affected a military bear- 
ing and looked quite proud and happy as 
they hurried about, evidently under the im- 
pression that the spectators regarded them as 
great captains who were kindly showing the 
barbarous Russians how to manage a railway. 
Nothing inclines me more to a pleasant train 
of kindly thoughts than the contemplation of 
a Frenchman under such circumstances. His 
vanity is so harmless, and it makes the poor 
fellow so happy, that it would be a positive sin 
to do anything which could spoil his illusions. 
The cause of all this holiday display and 
feverish excitement I did not learn till I 
reached the Warsaw station. There we were 
all hurried out of the train as quickly as 
possible and directed to enter the waiting- 
room, the doors of which were immediately 
locked. Our train at once moved on, and 
was soon succeeded by another, a special 

Warsaw. 1 1 9 

one, in which were the Grand Duke Con- 
stantine and his suite. 

The Grand Duke had been on a short visit 
to his brother, the Emperor Alexander, at St. 
Petersburg, for the purpose, it was said, of 
tendering his resignation as Viceroy of Poland. 
Through a window of the waiting-room I saw 
the Grand Duke descend from his carriage, 
and at the same moment the Grand Duchess 
with her children hurried forward to welcome 
him on his return. The platform was crowded 
with general officers in brilliant uniforms, who 
offered their respectful greetings to his Imperial 

When the Grand Duke Constantine, the 
Grand Duchess and their children, had driven 
away surrounded by their escort, and the mili- 
tary crowd on the platform had dispersed, the 
railway officials turned their attention to myself 
and fellow-travellers. 

At the door of the station I had given up 
my passport to a police officer, and I was 
now directed to proceed to a little office in 
the waiting-room to get a receipt for that 

1 20 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

document. I mentioned who I was to the 
clerk, and he handed me a bit of litho- 
graphed paper, about two inches long and 
an inch wide, in which he had filled up in 
writing two vacant spaces, one with my name, 
the other with the date of my arrival. My 
baggage was then minutely searched, not for 
contraband goods, as I had last come from 
Wilna, but for incendiary documents, fire- 
arms, and infernal machines. Nothing of a pro- 
hibited nature was found, and I was allowed 
to re-arrange my effects as well as I could, 
and lock my portmanteau and travelling-bag. 

I then sent a porter for a carriage to take me 
to the hotel, and, during his absence, which 
lasted about half an hour, a police officer that 
I had not seen before came and asked me if 
I had in my pockets any forbidden documents 
or any weapons. I answered in the negative ; 
but he seemed to doubt what I said, for he 
proceeded to search me, but he found nothing 
to excite his attention except an old cigar case, 
which he regarded with a good deal of curi- 
osity. It had been given to me, filled with 


Warsaw. lit 

good Havaima cigars, as long ago as 1851, by 
one of the chiefs of the great organ of the 
Press at the close of a tete-a-tete dinner at his 
club. I had kept it through all these years as a 
memento of that pleasant dinner and of many 
agreeable hours which I had passed in the 
company of the donor. It was a good deal 
worn and weather-beaten. It had been with 
me all through Italy and Greece, on the 
Danube, and in the Crimea, and its contents 
had helped to solace me in many a weary 
ride through the wilds of Asia Minor, of 
Palestine, and Egypt, but it had never before 
excited the attention of a policeman. 

" Why do you carry about with you so old 
a cigar case ?" he asked. I answered that it 
was more valuable in my eyes than a new one, 
because it was a souvenir. He looked per- 
plexed. He took out, one by one, the cigars 
which it contained, examined them, and then 
put them slowly back in their places. At 
length he returned me the cigar case, but with 
evident suspicions of its being an object suffi- 
ciently doubtful to deserve confiscation. 

122 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

"What countryman are you?" he then asked. 

" I am an Englishman," I answered. 

" Are you quite sure," he inquired, " that 
you are not a Frenchman?" 

" I am perfectly sure," I replied, " that I 
am not a Frenchman." Here the porter came 
up to say that the carriage I had asked for 
was arrived. I gave him my baggage, and 
was proceeding to follow him out, when a 
police officer at the door asked to see the 
receipt which had been given me for my pass- 
port. After he had looked at it for some 
time, he said it was not in order, and that I 
must go back and have it changed. I did as 
I was told ; and when the clerk who had given 
me " the bit of paper " heard that it was not 
in order he smiled pleasantly, seemed to make 
some alterations with his pen, and handed it 
me back. But again the cautious Cerberus at 
the door found an error in the document, and 
said it must be rectified. I again appealed to 
my friend the clerk, who this time seemed 
thoroughly amused. He took the receipt 
between his finger and thumb, touched it with 

Warsaw. 1 23 

his pen, and then told me, with a confident 
air, that it was quite correct. The man at the 
door again carefully scrutinized this wonderful 
receipt, which in all contained but three written 
words. This time, luckily, he seemed satisfied, 
and allowed me to pass out. 

Near the carriage I found the police officer 
who had taken such an interest in my cigar case. 
I asked him if he were a Russian ? he said no, 
that he was a Pole. " And are the other police 
officers," I said, " with whom I have spoken, 
Poles?" He replied that they were. It was 
for that very reason, possibly, I thought, that 
they were afflicted with the defect, so ob- 
noxious to Talleyrand, of " trop de zele" 

I drove from the station to the wooden 
pontoon-bridge which crosses the Vistula from 
the suburb of Praga to the town of Warsaw. 
As we proceeded across at a moderate pace, 
I had an opportunity of admiring the appear- 
ance of the city from that point of view, which 
is, perhaps, one of the best. The most 
striking object was a huge pile of building 
crowning an eminence on my right hand. 

1 24 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

The walls were covered with stucco, painted 
of a dull yellow colour, and entirely devoid of 
architectural beauty of any kind. Its massive 
dimensions, however, and its position on a 
height which rises perpendicularly from the 
level of the river, give it an imposing appear- 
ance. This was the zamek, or Royal Palace. 
By a winding road we ascended slowly from 
the river's banks till we came to the open 
place in front of the Vice-regal residence, on 
one side of which stands a very thin column of 
about fifty feet high, with an enormous capital 
of the composite order, on which is the statue 
of the Polish king, Sigismund III. So entirely 
out of proportion is the diameter of the shaft 
of the column with the size of the super- 
structure, that, at a distance, you might take 
the statue for an acrobat balancing himself on 
the end of a pole. 

We turned to the right out of this open 
place, and drove along the " Regent Street " 
of Warsaw, which is called in French "the 
Faubourg de Cracovie." I was agreeably 
surprised at the animation of the scene. The 

Warsaw. 125 

footpaths were thronged with pedestrians, and 
the. carriage-way crowded with vehicles of every 
description. There was nothing to indicate to 
a superficial observer that the town was in a 
state of siege. The number of military was 
.not greater than in the "Nefskoi Prospekt" 
at St. Petersburg, and the only feature which 
corresponded with what I had read of Warsaw 
in the newspapers, was that the men all wore 
caps or wide-awake hats, arid that the women 
were dressed in black. About ten minutes' 
driving from the zamek brought me to the 
Hotel de Europe. 

It was a large, oblong block, four stories 
high, with two entrances, one through a 
courtyard in the "Faubourg de Cracovie," 
and the other, and principal one in the im- 
mense platz, which runs from the latter street 
to the Saxon Gardens. This hotel was built 
by subscription, and is conducted something 
on the principle of the Hotel du Louvre 
at Paris, each floor being a sort of separate 
establishment under the care of a superinten- 
dent. The prices were moderate, but the 

126 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

rent of the apartments was arranged in what 
seemed to me an original manner. 

The sleeping-rooms on the first floor con- 
tained each two or more beds, and you were 
charged in the bill according to the number. 
The waiter assured me that no person of 
condition ever thought of sleeping in anything 
under a double-bedded room at least, and 
that a traveller's social position was known 
by the number of beds in his apartment, just 
as the rank of a mandarin is known by his 
buttons. Not being ambitious, I fixed upon 
a room with two beds, agreeing to pay for 
both, as if I had been, not " two single gentle- 
men rolled into one," but like Mrs. Malaprop's 
Cerberus, " two gentlemen at once." 

" You have an English lord for a neigh- 
bour," said the waiter. 

" And how many beds does he pay for? " 
I asked. 

" He pays for seven," said the waiter, with 
a look of pride, " a British peer could not pay 
for less. He is a great man," continued the 
waiter, " he has promised the Polish patriots 

Warsaw. 127 

to send an English army to their assistance if 
they will only hold out against the Russians a 
little longer. He is brave, too : he would not 
salute the Grand Duke and the Grand Duchess 
when they drove past him in the street the 
other dav." 

128 Petersburg and Warsaw. 



EARLY the next morning I received a visit 
from Colonel Annenkoff, aide-de-camp to the 
Emperor, and employed on special service in 
Poland. Though aide-de-camp to His Imperial 
Majesty, and a colonel, M. Anneukoff is little 
more than twenty-seven years of age. He owes 
his rapid advancement, however, entirely to 
his own merit. Though heir to a handsome 
fortune, he worked as hard, when a pupil in the 
Ecole des pages, as if he were to be entirely 
dependent upon his profession, and carried off 
the first prize at his examination. Though 
young and wealthy, he resisted the temptation 
of joining one of those brilliant cavalry regi- 
ments always quartered in the neighbourhood 
of the court, and preferred entering amongst 

'The Consul-General. 129 

the hard-working officers of the Russian staff, 
of which he is one of the most promising mem- 
bers. He speaks English fluently, has been a 
good deal in London, and is honorary member 
of one of our military clubs. 

He told me that he was directed by Count 
de Berg to let me know that his Excellency 
received the letters which I had sent him the 
evening before, and that he would be glad to 
see me if I called at the palace that afternoon. 

After speaking to me for some time in that 
frank, honest, and ingenuous way on the Polish 
question, which I have always remarked in 
him, Colonel Annenkoff took his leave, pro- 
mising to return and accompany me to Count 
Berg at the hour appointed for my reception. 

Shortly after his departure, Colonel Stanton, 
the British Consul-General, at whose house I 
had left, the night before, a letter, addressed to 
him by Lord Napier, called and invited me to 
dine with him on the following day. On hear- 
ing that I was going to see Count Berg, he bid 
me tell his Excellency that he would be happy 
to present me to the Grand Duke Constantine. 

Petersburg and Warsaw. 

Colonel Stanton is an officer of engineers, 
He has been through the Crimean war, and 
was one of the Commissioners appointed by 
the British Government to determine the line 
of frontier at Bolgrad in Bessarabia about 
which a misunderstanding had arisen after 
the congress of Paris. His manner and ap- 
pearance are exceedingly good, and when in 
uniform, as I had the pleasure of seeing him 
a few days afterwards at a levee at the palace, 
he looked in every way a worthy representative 
of the officers of the British army. 

He told me that the Polish society of War- 
saw was very much irritated against me, 
because they fancied that I was the author 
of some letters, dated from Wilna, which had 
appeared in The Morning Herald. 

I gave him my word that I was not the 
author of the letters he mentioned, and that I 
had never written a word in TJie Morning 
Herald, or in any other newspaper, on the 
Polish question. I did this, not that I sup- 
posed for an instant that Colonel Stantou 
shared in the idea of his Polish friends with 

'The Consul-General. 131 

regard to ine, but simply that he might be in 
a position to contradict the statement if again 
made in his presence. The author of the letters, 
I said, I believed to be a person who had been 
in Wilna at the same time as myself, and who 
subsequently went back to St. Petersburg. 

I have never seen these letters, and, there- 
fore, can form no judgment upon their merits, 
except from the reports of others. But 
whether they be good or bad, abusive, or in 
praise of England, provoking to bloodshed, or 
exhorting to peace, I positively object to 
having thrust upon me the responsibility of 
writings to which I am a total stranger. 

These writings attracted no public attention 
in England, for the reason, possibly, that they 
bore the mark, as all such writings do, of 
being written to order, and not according to 
matured judgment and honest conviction. 
With regard to the effect which such pro- 
ductions have upon the public mind, they 
may take literary rank with the advertise- 
ments of cheap tailors, like Moses and Son. 

It is strange that since the breaking out of 
K 2 

132 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

the Insurrection in Poland, every Englishman 
who visited the country was supposed to be 
the correspondent of London newspapers. I 
lay under the suspicion of the general 
public for several weeks of being the corre- 
spondent of one or other of the great London 

It is not a pleasant thing to be thought 
a newspaper correspondent in a' town in a 
state of siege. People, wherever you happen 
to go, scowl or look pleasant, are friendly 
or ferocious, according as their views coincide 
with, or differ from, those of the paper by 
which you are supposed to be employed. 
In any assembly that you enter, all confi- 
dential conversation amongst those present 
ceases at once, as if you were a member of 
the secret police, come to report the words 
and actions of the company. Every one with 
whom you come into contact plays a part. 
There is either an exaggerated cordiality or a 
stern reserve ; a wish to cajole you into good 
nature, or to make you ashamed of the 
iniquity of our ways. 

The Consul-General . 

The newspaper correspondent in most 
countries is looked upon as a literary de- 
tective, who is thought to be very useful 
by some, or very disagreeable by others, but 
whose occupation is not considered by any 
to be quite as venerable as that of a bishop, 
or as distinguished as that of a Lord High 

In Warsaw the correspondent was in this 
peculiar position, that if suspected of abetting 
the Insurrection, he was ordered out of the 
country by the police, and if he wrote against 
the National Government, he ran the risk of 
being murdered. A writer in a London 
journal left the kingdom of Poland by direc- 
tion of the Russian authorities, and joined 
his family in Moscow. A writer in the 
Komunaly* was murdered by order of the 
National Government, and sent into eternity. 
The first still continues his arguments in 
favour of the Insurrection from a distance 
the latter is silenced for ever. 

* Miniszewski. 

134 Petersburg and Warsaw. 



I FOUND Count de Berg lodged in the 
Royal Palace, in apartments adjoining those 
of the Grand Duke Con stan tine. The con- 
trast between General Moravieff and Count 
de Berg in appearance and manner is most 
striking. The Governor- General of Lithuania 
is inclined to obesity, is short of stature, 
and is lame from a wound received in the 
leg when a youth at the battle of Borodino. 
His features coincide with the popular idea in 
the west of Europe of a Russian face high 
cheek bones, a nez retrousse, and small sharp 
eyes. The expression of his face is stern, his 
voice is deep-toned and dissonant, and his 
manner is trenchant and abrupt, like that of 

Count de Berg. 135 

a man accustomed to command and to be 

Count de Berg is seventy-three years of age, 
but looks twenty years younger. He is tall 
and slight, and full of nervous activity. His 
features are regular, and when a young man 
he must have been remarkably good-looking. 
His voice is soft and sympathetic, and his 
general tone and bearing have all the well- 
bred animation and graceful cheerfulness of 
the grand seigneurs of the old school a 
type now rarely met with except in some of 
the aristocratic saloons of the Faubourg St. 

His career has been most eventful as well 
as unceasingly active. When a youth he 
was present at the different battles which took 
place between the troops of Napoleon I. and 
the Russian army in the retreat from Moscow. 
He entered Paris with the allied armies, and 
was employed in several important missions 
during the occupation. After the peace he 
was sent on a scientific expedition to the 
wild country bordering the Caspian Sea, to 

136 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

discover if a safe communication could be 
opened between that part of the Russian 
Empire and India. He was for some years 
employed in the diplomatic service in Italy, 
and was afterwards attached to the Russian 
Embassy at Constantinople as military agent. 
In 1831, during the period of the Polish 
Revolution, he was chief of the staff of the 
Russian army, and was employed to negotiate 
with the Polish generals during the siege of 
Warsaw. Subsequently, during ten years, he 
occupied a high command in Poland. 

On the breaking out of the Crimean war 
he was appointed by the Emperor Nicholas 
Governor General of Finland, with a large 
army under his orders for its protection from 
invasion. During his vice-royalty in Finland, 
he did much for the improvement of that 
province. He drained lakes, cut canals, con- 
structed roads, protected commerce, and was 
untiring in his efforts to improve the con- 
dition of the labouring classes. 

About a twelve-month since, he was sent 
to Warsaw to act conjointly with the Grand 

Count de Berg. 137 

Duke Constantino in the government of the 
Polish kingdom, and when his Imperial High- 
ness retired from his post in last September, 
Count de Berg was appointed by the Emperor 
to be the Grand Duke's successor. 

Count de Berg is a Protestant, but his 
wife, who is an Italian of a noble Lombard 
house, is a Catholic. Count de Berg has 
been, during his life, a good deal in England, 
for which country he has a strong partiality. 
His daughter he placed for her education 
in a Catholic convent at Roehampton, near 

During several months I saw a great deal 
of Count de Berg, and had ample oppor- 
tunities of judging of his character. He is 
eminently religious religious after the man- 
ner of the knights of old, who feared God 
and honoured the sovereign, and with whom 
fidelity to the crown was an article of faith. 
His private life is as pure and almost as 
austere as that of an anchorite. All day long 
and the greater part of the night he is 
unceasingly busy with the never-ending toil 

138 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

of his office. He does not go to bed till long 
after midnight, and rises at six in the morning. 

Though unbounded in his hospitality, he 
himself takes but one hurried meal in the day, 
and is as abstemious with regard to wine as 
if he were a disciple of Father Mathew. It is, 
perhaps, owing to this abstemious life which 
he has led for years, that he owes the youthful 
freshness of his character, and that marvellous 
intellectual and physical energy which would 
be remarkable even in the prime of manhood. 

It may be easily supposed that the Viceroy 
of Poland does not lie upon a bed of roses. 
For him there is no hour of quiet cheerfulness. 
From his rising to his lying down he hears of 
nothing but courts-martial, inquiries, execu- 
tions, assassinations, murders, sorrow, and ruin. 
And in the midst of this are the rival am- 
bitions, the jealousies, the intrigues, and the 
treasons to be found in every court, great and 

The Spirit of the Press. 139 



IT has been an old custom at the Viceregal 
court of Warsaw, that a secretary or the 
aide-de-camp on duty should each night read 
to the lieutenant of the Emperor extracts 
from the principal papers of Europe, com- 
menting on the affairs of Poland. I have been 
present at some of these readings, which, in 
general, consisted of the most savage abuse of 
Count de Berg himself, and that often in a style 
of Billingsgate which would make even a trans- 
atlantic journalist hide his diminished head. 
Then there were astounding recitals of events 
said to have taken place at our own doors 
of women dishonoured, others beaten with 
the knout, of churches desecrated, of lawless 

140 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

bloodshed and revolting tortures all asserted 
to have been perpetrated by order of Count 
de Berg. At first I listened with terror whilst 
these falsehoods and that wild abuse were 
being read to the lieutenant of the Emperor, 
lest his anger should be excited and prompt 
him to acts of needless severity. But he lis- 
tened throughout with the calm of a well- 
disciplined mind, which made 'me inwardly 
thank Heaven that it was he, and not some 
violent and headstrong man that had been 
sent to govern unhappy Poland. 

The Grand Duke Const antine. 141 



IT was at his Sunday morning levee that I 
had the honour of being presented to the 
Grand Duke Constantine. His Imperial High- 
ness shook hands with me and invited me to 
follow him into his private study. When the 
door was closed he sat down at a small table 
in the centre of the room, and told me to 
take a chair near him. 

The Grand Duke Constantine is in the 
prime of life, is of middle stature, with a well- 
formed head and delicate and expressive fea- 
tures. He speaks English fluently and with 
a certain elegance, and has the staid and quiet 
manner of a high-bred gentleman. With 
remarkable lucidity and a certain eloquence, 

142 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

he sketched the most remarkable events in the 
history of Poland, from the time of the annex- 
ation of that country to Russia, down to his 
appointment as Viceroy of the kingdom. 

" I came here," the Grand Duke said, " to 
try if, by ample concessions and a kind and 
conciliatory policy, I could not establish order 
and quiet in Poland. I had full powers to carry 
into effect my plans for reforming whatever 
abuses existed in the country, and for con- 
vincing the Poles by acts that our sole desire 
was to see the country prosperous and happy. 
We wished to secure a good local government 
to the Poles, to place in their own hands the 
administration of laws framed by themselves, 
to place natives of the kingdom in every post 
of trust and honour, to establish civil and reli- 
gious liberty, to make all men equal before the 
law, and to deal out impartial and even-handed 
justice to all classes of the community. The 
Emperor thought that in sending me, his 
brother, to carry his benevolent intentions 
into effect, he was giving a pledge to the Poles 
of the sincerity of his wishes for their welfare. 

'The Grand Duke Const antine. 143 

That I came as the representative of concilia- 
tion with the power and with the firm intention 
to redress every real grievance of which the 
Poles complained, and to grant every legitimate 
demand which they had addressed to the Rus- 
sian Government, was known to the whole 
world. 1 arrived here with my wife and chil- 
dren, full of confidence in the good sense, the 
loyalty, and the honour of a Christian and 
civilized people. Strong in these sentiments, 
I went, not very many hours after my arrival, 
to the theatre. On coming out a man advanced 
towards me, and, thinking he had some request 
to make, I bent down to listen. He had placed 
the muzzle of a revolver against my breast, 
but through my bending forwards the weapon 
glanced upwards, and, when he fired, the ball 
instead of entering my heart wounded me in 
the shoulder. 

" Here," continued the Grand Duke, " are 
the clothes which I wore on that night, and 
here is the revolver with which the assassin 
fired, and here is a dagger with which he was 
also armed." 

144 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

The Grand Duke's valet, an old man, had 
brought in the clothes ; the revolver and dagger 
were lying on a side table. 

There, true enough, was the uniform coat, 
the breast just over the heart pierced by the 
ball and burnt by the flame, and there was the 
epaulette rent and blackened by the shot. The 
shirt, too, which he wore was there it was 
torn by the bullet and stained with blood. 
The revolver was of the largest size, and the 
dagger was of the same kind as those now 
familiar to Europe as the daggers of the Polish 

'The Grand Duchess. 145 



WHILST I was looking with horror at the 
objects before me, the Grand Duchess entered 
the room. Her Imperial Highness is general!}' 
considered as one of the most beautiful women 
in Europe, and she fully deserves the title. 
Her figure is tall, lithe, and graceful. Her 
complexion is of transparent fairness, with a 
faint changing blush on the rounded cheek. 
Her eyes are large, dark, and luminous, the 
nose slightly aquiline, sufficiently so to give 
an air of command when the features are in 
repose. But there is an expression of settled 
melancholy in the lines of the mouth, as if the 
full and slightly parted lips had long been 
unused to smile. 

146 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

After Her Imperial Highness had honoured 
me by saying that she was glad to see me in 
Warsaw, she sat down beside the Grand Duke, 
by whom I was invited to resume my chair. 

" Had I known," said the Grand Duchess, 
"that my husband ran any danger in going 
to the theatre I would have gone with him, 
and sheltered him from the assassin. But 
who could suppose that there were people in 
the world so wicked as to wish to murder one 
who not only had never done them any harm, 
but who had come amongst them to do them 
good? On the day of our arrival from St. 
Petersburg the assassin was waiting at the 
station to murder my husband, but he de- 
ferred making the attempt because I and 
the children were present. Since then I am 
never happy when the Grand Duke goes abroad 
without me, who would shield him from 

" Yes," said the Grand Duke with emotion, 
" she is a brave and devoted wife." 

The Grand Duchess turned away her head, 
but I saw that she was weeping. 

The Grand Duchess. 147 

" I am now going away from Poland," said 
the Grand Duke, " because my presence here 
would be an anomaly. I came to Warsaw as 
the representative of a conciliatory policy ; that 
policy has signally failed, another system is 
about to be introduced, and it must naturally 
be put into execution under another chief." 

L 2 

148 Petersburg and Warsaw. 



THAT evening I dined with Colonel Stan ton. 
Befofe dinner was announced, I spoke privately 
to the Consul- General of the coming events in 
Poland, and I told him of the measures which 
the Russian Government intended to adopt, 
and I begged of him, in the name of humanity, 
to do what he could to avert the coming storm. 
I asked him, as he had a cypher, to telegraph 
to Lord Russell, so that his lordship might let 
those chiefs of the Polish Insurrection who 
resided in London know how hopeless was 
their cause, and how terrible were the cala- 
mities which they were bringing upon their 
unfortunate country. 

Assassination and the Catholic Church. 149 

During dinner the conversation turned 
upon assassination. The Vice-Consul was sur- 
prised to find that I looked upon assassination 
as a crime. He said that he was a Catholic, 
and that lie knew that the Catholic clergy at 
home approved of assassination under certain 
circumstances ; and that in Ireland they 
preached it openly to their flocks. I made 
no reply, as I presumed that the Consul- 
General and the Vice-Consul had official in- 
formation on the subject. It is for Cardinal 
Wiseman and Archbishop Cullen to admit or 
to deny the assertion made, uncoutradicted, 
at the table of Her Britannic Majesty's repre- 
sentative in Warsaw. 

I was not aware till then that there was 
any known religion which sanctified murder, 
with the exception of that of the Thugs of 
India, but I hope that I may safely assert 
that the Catholic Church does not authorize 
its clergy to preach murder in any country, 
even in Poland. 

1 50 Petersburg and Warsaw. 



AFTER dinner I went to a soiree given by the 
Grand Duchess. The state apartments were 
filled by a brilliant crowd, but all looked more 
or less sad and thoughtful. The Grand Duke 
and Grand Duchess had announced their de- 
parture for the Tuesday following, and this had 
thrown a gloom over the company. 

When the Grand Duchess was retiring she 
told me not to forget that I was to call upon 
her next morning. 

When I came at the hour appointed, Her 
Imperial Highness was at luncheon with her 

I have seen few things more touching than 
the love which unites all the members of this 

A Soiree at the Viceregal Court. 151 

family together a love evidently made all the 
deeper and the more binding by the terrible 
scenes amidst which for many a weary month 
they had been living. 

" You will be surprised when I tell you," 
the Grand Duchess said, "that I leave this 
place with the greatest regret. It is a general 
idea that we are only attached to places where 
we have been happy, but yet this palace is 
dear to me, though it is here that I have first 
known real sorrow. It was here, in this room, 
that I received my wounded husband the night 
the attempt was made upon his life. He had 
changed his dress and mastered the pain of 
his wound, and also his weakness from loss of 
blood, so that I might not be alarmed ; for the 
doctor thought that in my then state of health 
any violent shock might have a fatal effect. 

"After the Grand Duke had gone to the 
theatre and I sat here alone, I felt a sudden 
presentiment that I was threatened with some 
terrible calamity. When he returned and 
entered this room, my joy was unbounded. I 
asked him if nothing had happened to him 

152 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

whilst he was away. He tried to re-assure 
me by evading an answer; but I knew by 
the paleness of his face that he had been 

" It was here, in this room, that he told me 
of the assassin's attempt and his miraculous 
escape. It was here, often and often when 
the Grand Duke was absent, that, my children 
kneeling by me, I prayed to God to save their 
father's life. God heard the prayers that came 
from those little innocent hearts. 

"Every object around me is associated in 
my mind with some bitter sorrow, or some 
deceptive gleam of joy. And yet my affections 
cling to them, just as bright sunny plants 
grow nfllir graves and twine themselves fondly 
round some memorial of grief. 

" My old nurse," continued the Grand 
Duchess, " has never left me since I was born. 
She came with me to Russia from our quiet 
home in Germany. She watches over me as if 
I were her life. Sometimes, when I am alone 
and unhappy, she tries to comfort me by talk- 
ing as she used to talk to me long ago, as if 

A Soiree at the Viceregal Court. 1 53 

I were still a little child. At the time that an 
attempt was made to poison the Marquis Wil- 
lopolsky, she came to me and said, " You must 
not eat any of that cake which has been sent 
up with your tea, it does not look nice, it 
may make you ill." 

Her Imperial Highness was struck by the 
words of her nurse, as on that very day the 
Grand Duke had received information from 
the police, that a man known to them as an 
agent of the National Government was em- 
ployed in the viceregal kitchen. The nurse 
was not aware of this ; her warning was the 
result of affection for her foster-child ; but the 
Grand Duchess, conscious that there might be 
danger, took the necessary precautions that no 
one should eat of the cake. This is one of the 
almost hourly-recurring incidents of torturing 
anxiety for the safety of her husband and chil- 
dren which the Grand Duchess had to suffer 
during her residence at Warsaw. 

At the close of my audience, the Grand 
Duchess said " 1 am superstitious. Look at 
me and tell me if you feel that you shall soon 

154 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

see me again." 1 said I hoped that I should. 
It does not seem very probable, however, that 
I shall again see her Imperial Highness in 
this world. The sufferings she went through 
in Warsaw have gradually undermined her 
health, and whilst I write she is dying of 
a lingering consumption. Her little court 
at Warsaw was broken up at her departure, 
and its members went their different ways 
through the world; but there will be aching 
hearts among them when they hear that the 
earth is about to close for ever over her that 
they loved so well. 

The Citadel of Warsaw. 1 5 5 



I HAVE visited the prisons and hospitals of 
Warsaw, where political offenders are confined. 
On my first visit to the citadel I went round 
the ramparts, accompanied by the Governor, 
who is an old veteran general officer. This 
fortress covers a large extent of ground. With- 
in the walls, there is quite a good-sized town. 
The ground on which the citadel is built is on 
a level with the street called the Faubourg de 
Cracovie. The position is not a commanding 
one, except from the approaches by the river. 

The style of the fortifications is the ordinary 
one of drawbridges, double moats, curtains 
and casemates, earthen bastions, &c.; the whole 
kept perfectly clean and in good repair. The 

156 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

cannon and mortars are almost medieval in the 
primitiveness of their construction, and would 
be utterly useless in presence of our new 

A most beautiful view of the town and 
river is to be had from one of the angles of 
the fortification. 

The first prison which I visited within the 
walls of the fortress was that devoted to the 
poorer class of insurgents. Most of them had 
been captured with arms in their hands, when 
forming the rank and file of the Polish bands. 
Some of them to whom I spoke told me that 
when taken they were in the most abject 
misery nearly dead from hunger and with 
their clothes in rags. The clothes which they 
had on when I spoke to them were coarse but 
comfortable. They had been given to them, 
the prisoners told me, by the Russian author- 
ities. I asked them if they were supplied 
with good and sufficient food. They answered 
that they generally got more than they could 
eat ; and, in proof of what they said, several 
showed me the remains of their last meal, 

The Citadel of Warsaw. 157 

which they had put aside. The rooms in 
which they were confined were of large size 
and might more properly be called halls than 
rooms. The beds were laid on the floor round 
the^ walls. They were rolled up in the day- 
time, and spread out at night by the prisoners 

It must be remembered that all these 
prisoners belonged to the labouring classes, 
though, in general, they claimed to be " noble- 
men." One youth to whom I spoke told 
me that he was " noble." His father, he 
said, was a hackney coachman, but he also 
Avas noble by descent, and enjoyed the privi- 
leges accorded by the law to his rank. None 
of these prisoners were either ragged or dirty, 
thanks to the Russian officials, who supplied 
them with the necessary raiment and who 
enforced habits of cleanliness. 

158 Petersburg and Warsaw. 



I VISITED the kitchen where the food is pre- 
pared for these prisoners. It was spacious and 
well kept. It was close to the hour for dinner, 
and pots and saucepans were simmering mer- 
rily over the fire. I asked to taste the contents 
of some which I pointed out, and found them 
very good and palatable. Soup, meat, and 
vegetables were supplied to each prisoner. My 
friend, who was with me, felt hungry after his 
walk round the ramparts, and had, at my re- 
quest, a full ration supplied to him, in one of 
the rooms adjoining the kitchen. Had we 
been at our hotel, he would have asked for the 
daintiest dishes that the chef-de-cuisine could 
furnish ; he, however, consumed with evident 

The Prison Diet. 159 

satisfaction to his inward man, the whole of 
his . ration of soup, meat, vegetables, and 

A part of the citadel, known as the Sixth 
Pavilion, is of a dark and terrible interest to 
the people of Warsaw. Numberless are the 
stories told in frightened whispers of the 
sombre dramas which have been enacted within 
its walls in former times. It was with the 
same awe that I crossed its threshold, as I had 
felt in Venice when crossing the Ponte Sos- 
piri. I felt my blood chilled as I walked 
through its long silent corridors, till I reached 
the point from which I intended commencing 
my visits to the different cells. 

160 Petersburg and Warsaw. 



THE first into which I entered 1 found in- 
habited by a lady of perhaps twenty-six or 
twenty-seven years of age. She was pretty, 
and was very neatly dressed in mourning. 
Her auburn-coloured hair was as carefully 
arranged a la Marie Stuart as if she were 
seated in her own drawing-room expecting 
some morning calls. On a chair was lying 
open a morocco dressing-bag, evidently of 
English manufacture, filled with the usual 
silver-mounted articles. 

I apologized to her for presuming to come 
into her room. I said that I did not do so 
from simple curiosity, but from a desire of 

Female Prisoners. 161 

being of service to her in any way that I 

In reply to a question of mine, she said 
that she had entered Poland with written com- 
munications for some of the insurgent chiefs, 
sewed in the lining of her dress. She was sus- 
pected, was searched, the correspondence was 
found, and she was sent a prisoner to Warsaw. 

We had hitherto been conversing in French, 
when I suddenly saw several Tauchnitz 
editions of English books lying on her 
table. One which was open, as if she had 
just laid it down, was "Aurora Floyd." I 
then spoke to her in English, at which she 
seemed surprised and displeased. I pointed 
to her books which were all English, and I 
said it was that which made me suppose either 
that she was an Englishwoman, or that she 
spoke our language. 

She told me her story. May Heaven help 
her, and all of her sex in whom sentiment is 
stronger than reason 1 At the present time I 
know that she is well, and I hope that she is 


1 62 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

The next cell into which I entered was of 
a larger size, and, it seemed to me, more 
sparingly furnished. The light came through 
a square strongly -barred window, fixed high 
in the wall, and the rays of the sun fell aslant 
the room, leaving that side where was the 
window in shadow. At first I thought the 
place uninhabited, and looked with astonish- 
ment at a series of cartoons . which covered 
the walls from floor to ceiling. They were 
done in charcoal, but it was evident that they 
had been executed by the hand of a master. 
The subjects were strange and fantastic, and 
might have served to illustrate some wild 
Teutonic legend. 

Whilst lost in surprise at the style of the 
drawings on the walls, I heard a low sigh 
close behind me. I turned, and saw, in the 
shadowed side of the room, a young girl 
standing beside a bed. As I moved towards 
her, to ask pardon for my intrusion, T observed 
that she became red and pale by turns, and 
trembled violently as if she were in great fear. 
She was a murderess ! Incited to the crime 

Female Prisoners. 163 

by others, she thought herself a second Judith, 
with beauty to win and courage to strike, and 
that the act was sanctioned by Heaven, as was 
that of the Jewish girl. 

M 2 

164 Petersburg and Warsaw. 



THERE is a large room in that Sixth Pavilion 
in which I found some fifty prisoners. They 
were all gentlemen, and several of them were 
rich landed proprietors. 

They told me that the food supplied to 
them was good, and more than abundant, and 
that, moreover, those who pleased were allowed 
to purchase wines, brandy, tobacco, and any 
luxury in eating or drinking they thought 

They were, moreover, free to receive any 
number of books they wished, provided they 
contained nothing of an incendiary nature re- 
lating to the Polish question. One of the 
books which I found in the hands of a young 

Male Prisoners. 165 

gentleman was Guizot's Life of Cromwell. I 
mention this to show that there was a fair 
latitude allowed with regard to works of a 
politico-historical nature. 

I visited all the prisoners in solitary con- 
finement, as well as those who were two or 
three together in each cell. Where a prisoner 
had one or more companions, he always looked 
calm if not cheerful, but those who were 
alone had generally a vague, anxious look, but 
not that indescribable expression seen in those 
wretched beings condemned to solitary con- 
finement in some of the gaols in England. 
This I attribute chiefly to the free supply of 
entertaining and instructive books allowed in 
the political prisons in Poland. 

1 66 Petersburg and Warsaw. 



DURING the entire time that I remained in 
Poland, I resorted to every means within 
my reach to discover if there were any truth 
in the stories which have appeared in almost 
every paper in England, from the Times down 
to the Halfpenny Journal, of political prisoners 
having been tortured by the Russians. 

I here protest solemnly that no case of the 
kind has ever come to my knowledge. Several 
gentlemen, whose acquaintance I made in the 
political prisons in Poland, and chiefly in the 
citadel of Warsaw, are now free, and are will- 
ing to declare, if called upon, that not only 
have they never been tortured in any way 
themselves, but that they did not know of a 

Torture of Political Prisoners, 167 

single one of their friends or acquaintances 
having so suffered. The persons to whom 
I allude are men of title and fortune, to 
whom the happiness of Poland is as dear 
as it is to Prince Czartorisky or any of his 
companions in the National Government, but 
who protest against the name of Pole be- 
coming synonymous with that of liar and 

Nearly all these gentlemen have written to 
me on the subject of the treatment which 
they received from the Russian officials during 
their imprisonment, and these letters have 
been shown to those whose duty it is to 
obtain truthful information of what is passing 
in Poland. 

In the hospitals for the wounded and sick 
Polish prisoners in this country, the order 
and cleanliness were excellent, and the medical 
attendance unexceptional ; the pharmaceutical 
laboratory in the citadel of Warsaw is well 
worthy the visit of scientific men. The director 
is a German professor of distinguished ability. 
The retorts, the crucibles, and all the multi- 

1 68 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

farious apparatus, are of the most improved 
kind, and are kept in a state of delicate neat- 
ness, which would delight the heart of the 
most scrupulous analyser. 

Attempt to Murder Count de Berg. 169 



A FEW days after the departure of the Grand 
Duke Constantine I was dining in company 
with the brother-in-law of the Marquis Willo- 
polsky, and some other Polish gentlemen, when 
the news was brought to us that an attempt 
had been made on the life of Count de Berg. 
I had been then but a very short time in 
Warsaw, and refused to give credit to such 
extraordinary intelligence. Not so my com- 
panions. They knew what they call the " red 
party," namely, that of the National Govern- 
ment, better. 

The landed proprietors, as they have often 
since told me, were aware that the idea of the 
foreign revolutionists, once that they had esta- 

170 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

blished their influence in Poland, was to keep 
perpetually renewed a barrier of blood between 
Poles and Russians. Their hope was that the 
latter would be thus maddened into frenzy, 
and driven into sanguinary excesses like those 
of the Turks in Scio and Damascus, and the 
Sepoys in India. Poland was to be sacrificed ; 
and they, the landed proprietors, who had 
everything to lose, would naturally be the first 
victims. Burning, pillage, and massacre were 
hoped for, even the extermination of an entire 
people, if it could only bring about a general 
war in which it was thought the anti-religious 
and anti-social element would be sure to gain 
the ascendant. It was this knowledge which 
caused the panic amongst my companions. 

General Luders, whilst walking in the Saxon 
garden, was attacked by assassins, and carried 
home it was thought mortally wounded. He 
was succeeded as Viceroy of Poland by the 
Grand Duke Constantine, whose murder, as I 
have already related, was attempted not many 
hours after his arrival in Warsaw. And the 
life of Count de Berg, the present lieutenant 

Attempt to Murder Count de Berg. 171 

of the Emperor, was only saved by a sort 
of miracle from the assassins of the National 

The intervals between these events were 
filled up by almost daily murders in the 
streets, the cafes, and the hotels and private 
houses of Warsaw, as well as in the towns 
and villages throughout the kingdom. 

It was supposed by Czartorisky, Mazzini, 
Kossuth, &c. that the murder of Count de 
Berg would cause the cup to overflow, and that 
at length the long wished-for massacre of the 
Poles by the Russian soldiery would take place, 
and that the indignant "peoples" of Europe 
would rise at the call of their natural leaders, 
and that the war of democracy against kings, 
priests, and statesmen, would rage from the 
Nile to the Neva, and from the remote east 
to tjie shores of Ireland, for the Emerald Isle 
had an important part allotted to her in the 
projected drama. 

172 Petersburg and Warsaw. 



As I have already said, my companions on the 
day of the attack on the life of Count de Berg 
were seized with a panic, and fled. It was a 
little after 5 o'clock, on a beautiful autumn 
evening. Surprised and bewildered I went out 
into the streets. At that hour and at that 
season they are generally thronged with people. 
Every door and window was closed, and the 
streets and squares through which I passed 
were as silent and deserted as if the city were 
stricken with the plague. 

Unable to obtain any details, but seeing 
from the appearance of the town that it must 
be true that Count de Berg had been attacked 
by the assassins of the National Government, I 

The Panic. 173 

hurried away to the royal palace. There was 
the usual guard on the staircase, but there was 
no one in the ante-room where the aides-de- 
camp wait. My heart sunk within me ; I was 
afraid the Count had been killed. I heard voices 
in the next room, and forgetting all etiquette I 
pulled open the door, and to my great delight 
beheld his Excellency, looking hale and unin- 
jured, seated at dinner surrounded by his staff. 

The meal was soon over, and we all accom- 
panied Count de Berg to his study, where coffee 
is usually served. 

We had scarcely entered, when news was 
brought that the soldiers who had been di- 
rected to take possession of Zamoyski House 
had begun to throw the furniture out of the 
windows. Count de Berg was, as it may be 
supposed, exceedingly angry when he received 
this intelligence, and at once despatched Colonel 
Annenkoff to prevent any further destruction 
of property, and to order that the severest 
military discipline should be observed amongst 
the soldiers occupying the house where the 
attempted assassination had taken place. 

174 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

Count de Berg knew well what were the 
ulterior hopes of the revolutionary party in 
ordering an attempt to be made upon his life, 
and therefore it was that he was so grieved 
that anything which could be made to look 
like a disposition to lawless retribution should 
have been shown by the soldiery. 

Later that night, I went with Colonel An- 
nenkoff to Zamoyski House. .The orders of 
Count de Berg had been obeyed, and a noise- 
less quiet reigned throughout the vast building. 
We passed the sentries and moved along 
amongst the sleeping soldiers, stretched on 
the floors in the corridors and saloons. Almost 
all the windows in the front of the house were 
broken j and here and there in the rooms was 
to be seen the wreck of what had once been 
a handsome piece of furniture. The remains 
of the articles which had been flung through 
the windows were, before our arrival, collected 
in a heap near the statue of Copernicus and 
burnt. The panic amongst the upper classes, 
caused by the attack on the life of Count de 
Berg, continued for several days, and did not 

The Panic. 


entirely cease till they were convinced by 
experience that the line of conduct which 
his Excellency intended to pursue was one of 
impartial justice, but always, when occasion 
offered, tempered by mercy. 

176 Petersburg and Warsaw. 



WHEN the cold weather came on, the Russian 
soldiers, who during the summer had lived 
chiefly under canvas, were ordered into bar- 
racks. As there was not sufficient accommo- 
dation in the Government buildings for the 
unusually large force stationed in Poland, it was 
determined to quarter some of the men in the 
monasteries, which, in Warsaw especially, are 
very numerous and of enormous dimensions. 

On the evening of the very first day that 
troops had been placed in the different convents 
in Warsaw, I went to see in what manner 
they were lodged, and if their behaviour was 
as orderly and quiet as it ought to be within 
the walls of an edifice dedicated to the worship 

'The Monasteries. 177 

of God. I found that the soldiers had been 
invariably quartered in the cells, refectories, 
and dormitories on the ground floor, or in a 
detached wing, whilst the upper stories were 
entirely left to the members of the religious 
orders residing in the convent. I observed 
that there was a strong guard at the principal 
gates, and that sentries were posted at short 
intervals round the building. 

Up to this time, the monasteries and convents 
in Warsaw had not been visited by the Russian 
police, and their precincts were, by order of 
the Viceroy, to be considered as sacred, and 
the inmates were not in any way to be inter- 
fered with, lest the Poles should be shocked 
in their religious prejudices. The consequence 
was, that as far as the Russian Government 
was concerned, these edifices, and all that 
took place therein, were enveloped in an im- 
penetrable veil of mystery. 

The indications that the coming winter 
promised to be one of unusual severity pro- 
duced an increased anxiety in the mind of 
Count de Berg for the comfort of the troops, 


178 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

and he determined to follow the example given 
him by the Sovereign Pontiff himself, and 
quarter the soldiers who were without barracks 
in the unoccupied portions of the monasteries. 

In Rome the French troops are quartered 
in the religious establishments, and many of 
the officers are lodged even in the churches, 
where apartments were fitted up for them, as 
at Santa Maria Maggiore. 

Scarcely had the Russian soldiers taken up 
their residence in the monasteries of Warsaw, 
than the press of Western Europe teemed with 
the most harrowing details of the atrocities 
committed by them in the churches, monas- 
teries, and convents in Poland. The frightful 
sacrilege, the impious crimes of lust and 
plunder, the robbery of sacred vessels, the 
desecration of graves amidst the wild blasphe- 
mous ravings of a drunken soldiery, which 
history attributes to the French army in Spain, 
were scarcely to be compared to the crimes 
said by some organs of the press to have been 
perpetuated by Russians in the churches and 
monasteries of Warsaw, No wonder that a 

'The Monasteries. 179 

shudder of horror ran through the civilized 
world when such events were told with graphic 
minuteness by some of the leading newspapers 
in Europe. 

When these terrible recitals were sent to 
me, to inquire into their truth, I was perfectly 
bewildered. There, in great London journals, 
and in excellent English, were all the minute 
details of the most astounding horrors said to 
have occurred under my own eyes. 

I hurried off at once to the places where 
these sacrilegious crimes were said to have 
occurred. I was not accompanied by Russian 
aides-de-camp, or by Government officials, but 
by two Polish gentlemen, both ardent lovers 
of their country, and who had abetted with 
money and influence the insurrection at its 
outbreak. We questioned everybody who 
could give us the slightest information on the 
subject, and I found, to my great relief, that 
those terrible recitals, which had so startled 
Europe, were pure fabrications. 

Some of the clergymen, inmates of the 
monasteries where these horrors were said to 


1 80 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

have occurred, were evidently grieved to see 
that their unhappy country must bear the 
stain of such unblushing falsehoods. Three 
of these clergymen drew up in writing a solemn 
protest against the statements in the press of 
the sacrilegious conduct of the Russian soldiers, 
against whom, on the contrary, they asserted 
that they had no cause of complaint. They 
signed this paper in the evening, and on the 
following morning all three were found, in 
their cells, apparently at the point of death. 
The best medical aid was promptly called in, 
and two of the sufferers were saved,, but the 
third died in great agony. 

These were anointed priests, ministers in 
the Church of Christ, exhorting by word and 
example, according to the commands of their 
Divine Master, to a love of truth and brotherly 
union. But their sacred calling was no pro- 
tection to them in the eyes of the " National 
Government," by whom, for having signed the 
document mentioned above, they were con- 
demned to death. 

The Catholic Priesthood. 181 



As stated in the preceding chapter, the monas- 
teries and convents were, under the rule of 
the Grand Duke, considered as sacred edifices, 
devoted to the worship of God. The police, 
therefore, had orders never to enter their pre- 
cincts for the purpose of making a perquisition, 
or in any way to interfere with the personal 
freedom of the inmates. The consequence 
was, that these places became sanctuaries for 
the agents of the "National Government," 
who, safe from the eyes of the police in these 
" deep solitudes and awful cells," carried on 
the direction of assassination, of forced con- 
tributions, and of correspondence with the 

1 82 Petersburg and Warsaw 

heads of the insurgent bands, and with the 
chiefs of the movement in London and Paris. 
Shortly, however, after the soldiers were 
quartered in these religious houses, discoveries 
of the most extraordinary nature were gradually 
made by the Russian police. Daggers for 
arming the assassins were found buried in the 
gardens ; arms and uniforms for the insurgent 
bands were hid away in the Cells, together 
with all the materials for printing incendiary 
proclamations, flying sheets of news, and 
pamphlets. Finding daggers for the assassins 
hidden within the walls of the monasteries, 
coupled with some other circumstances, led 
many to suppose that the Catholic clergy in 
Poland approved of assassination. It was 
believed at the time, from the assertions made 
by some of " the hanging gendarmerie " who 
had been captured, that their poignards were 
blessed by the priests before going to perform 
their work of blood. I cannot believe in so 
frightful an accusation as that the anointed 
priests of a Christian Church could be abettors 
of murder. I am rather inclined to think 

'The Catholic Priesthood. 183 

that the idea was propagated by the revolu- 
tionary committees in London and Paris, for 
the purpose of leading ignorant Catholics to 
suppose that, in the cause of "oppressed 
nationalities," the Church of Rome did permit 

It was certainly a most deplorable circum- 
stance that at the very time assassinations of 
the most horrible kind were rifest in Poland, 
a solemn mass should have been offered up in 
the Eternal City, asking the aid of Heaven for 
the Poles, and that the avowed representative 
of the " National Government " was, in his 
official capacity, invited to be present at the 

I can, however, positively state, from my 
own personal knowledge, that many of the 
Catholic priests in Warsaw stood as much in 
awe of the assassins of the National Govern- 
ment as any simple layman. 

When the astounding fabrications were 
circulated by the press of Western Europe, 
of the sacrilegious conduct of the Russian sol- 
diers in the religious houses in Warsaw, there 

1 84 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

were other Catholic priests besides the three 
mentioned in the preceding chapter who drew 
up and signed a document in which it was 
stated that the allegations made against the 
troops were utterly false. The document was 
already in my hands, when I was earnestly 
implored to restore it to the writers ; for the 
priests said, if were it to become known to the 
" National Government " that they had dared 
to tell the truth in such a case, they were 
sure to be either poisoned or poignarded. 

General Trepojf. 185 



SHORTLY after the appointment of Count de 
Berg as Viceroy of Poland, it was determined 
to place an officer of rank at the head of the 
gendarmerie of the kingdom. General Trepoff 
was accordingly named by the Emperor to 
that important post. At the time of his nomi- 
nation he was living quietly with his wife and 
numerous family of young children. He was 
possessed of an independent fortune ; he was 
no longer young, and had earned honours and 
rank by long years of arduous service. Had 
he consulted his own inclinations, he would 
have passed the remainder of his days in un- 
obtrusive retirement, devoting himself to his 
domestic cares, to the education of his chil- 

i86 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

dren, and to watching over the failing health 
of his wife. But he was a soldier, and at the 
call of duty he determined to repair at once 
to the post to which he had been named. 

The frightful assassinations which were of 
daily occurrence in Warsaw had filled with 
horror the public mind in Russia, and the 
husband and father who had repaired to that 
ill-fated city, upon which seemed to have 
fallen the curse of Heaven, had to go through 
a heart-breaking parting from those he was 
forced to leave behind. 

I met General Trepoff at dinner at the 
Viceroy's table, on the day of his arrival in 
Warsaw. That evening we spoke long and 
intimately, and I was happy to think that a 
man so humane and upright, and so free from 
prejudice, should have been chosen to fill a 
post in which so much could be done in the 
cause of Christian pity. 

So great was the affection existing between 
General Trepoff and his wife, that the latter 
could not bear the pain of separation ; and the 
doctors, fearing for the result in one so delicate ; 

General T'repoff. 187 

at length consented that she should undertake 


the long and weary journey which was to 
bring her to her husband. 

Attended by her eldest daughter, a child of 
fourteen, and a waiting-maid, she started on 
her way, and after a fortnight's travelling 
reached Warsaw. 

The joy of meeting between husband and 
wife was not, however, of long duration. The 
dark stories which had reached her in her 
retirement of the stealthy murders and myste- 
rious deaths of which Warsaw was the scene 
fell short, she soon learned to know, of the 
terrible reality. Her love exaggerated the 
perils which her husband ran in a city swarm- 
ing with assassins, and her anxiety for his 
safety, joined to the fatigues of her long jour- 
ney, were too much for her feeble health, and 
she died. Her last words were a prayer to 
Heaven to watch over her husband and her 
child in that place of terrors. 

I will not attempt to describe the grief of 
the widower and of his little girl, or the pity 
that all who had hearts felt for their sufferings. 

1 88 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

General Trepoff is a pious man, and in the 
church where the dead body of his wife was 
laid during the solemn funereal rites, he asked 
that prayers should be offered up each day for 
the repose of her soul. 

From that sad day, every morning the sor- 
rowing widower, with his little girl, in her 
mourning dress, walked from the Palais Briihl, 
where they lived, to the church, and kneeling 
humbly on the steps of the altar, they joined 
the officiating priest in prayers for her they 
had lost. 

Thus day after day they went and came 
on their mournful mission, till the " National 
Government" heard that a Russian general 
walked slowly each morning in the streets of 
Warsaw, so absorbed in grief for the death of 
his wife that he took no heed of what was 
going on around, and that he had no com- 
panion but his little daughter. The National 
Government thought it too good an occasion 
to lose, and they ordered that General Tre- 
poff should be 'assassinated when on his way 
to church. 

General Trepoff. 189 

Possibly the men of blood who direct these 
crimes chuckled that night, in their safe re- 
treats in Paris and London, at the thought 
that with one blow they would kill the father 
and break the daughter's heart. 

One morning, bowed down with sorrow 
his eyes fixed upon the ground, the General 
walked slowly from the church where he had 
been praying towards his home, with his 
little daughter clinging to his arm. Swiftly 
and noiselessly the assassins glided behind 
them one seized the child and another, 
lifting an axe sharp as a razor, aimed a 
blow at the old man's head. 

But Heaven had heard the dying prayer of 
his wife ; the axe turned slightly in the hand 
of the murderer, and instead of cleaving the 
head of the General 4 , it cut his ear and wounded 
him in the shoulder. 

Though stunned by the blow, he turned 
quick as lightning upon his assailant; and 
seizing him by the throat, he wrenched the 
hatchet from his grasp, and held him till some 
Russian soldiers ran to his assistance. He 

190 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

then turned to his little daughter, who was 
lying senseless on the ground, and taking her 
in his arms he carried her to the nearest shop, 
where she soon recovered sufficiently to be 
able to continue her way home. The assassin 
by whom she had been seized, seeing that the 
blow struck at the General had failed, had 
dashed her to the ground and fled. 

A Mother's Prayers. 191 



EVERY day during my stay in Lithuania and 
in the kingdom of Poland, I tried, with all the 
very limited means within my power, to stop 
the effusion of blood, and to save from the 
severities of the law the unhappy beings who 
had taken part in the insurrection and fallen 
into the power of the Russian authorities. 

If facts, drawn from the highest and most 
.reliable sources, could have given additional 
weight to my words, then powerful I should 
have been for the attainment of my object. 
But I met with opposition in places where it 
was least of all to be expected. The opposi- 
tion did not come from the Russians or from 
the Poles, but from persons who, like myself, 

192 .Petersburg and Warsaw. 

were strangers in the country,, and who, 
having committed themselves to certain views, 
were determined to support these views at 
any cost rather than submit to what they 
considered the humiliation of abandoning their 
error. Such an attitude would, under ordi- 
nary circumstances, have been of little conse- 
quence, but here it tended to perpetuate and 
increase the horrors of civil war.. To attempt 
entering into communication with the Poles 
through such a medium was of course hope- 
less, and that everything would be done to 
prejudice the Poles against me was quite natu- 
ral to expect. The attempt to prejudice the 
natives against me succeeded to admiration, 
and for some days after my arrival in Warsaw 
I found myself as isolated with regard to 
Polish society as if I had taken up my abode 
in Novogorod. 

As the sole object of my mission was one of 
humanity, my first duty was naturally to visit 
the prisons and hospitals. 

In one of the rooms of the citadel which I 
entered on the day of my first visit, was con- 

A Mother's Prayers. 1 93 

fined as a prisoner a young gentleman named 

In answer to my usual questions, he 
answered frankly that he had nothing to com- 
plain of with regard to his treatment ; that the 
food given him was wholesome and abundant ; 
that he had books to read, which he showed 
me ; and that his bed was good and his room 
clean and airy. 

I asked him if I could serve him in any 
way. He said there was only one thing he 
desired in the world, and that was that he 
should be permitted to see and converse with 
his mother. " She is old," he said, " and I 
am her only child, and I know that the thought 
that I am in prison will break her heart ; for 
she will think that I am perhaps in a dungeon 
and treated cruelly. I only ask to see her and 
to assure her that I am well. For myself 
I do not care ; I am resigned to my fate ; but 
the thought that my poor mother suffers on 
my account almost drives me mad." 

His eyes were filled with tears as he 
spoke. I was greatly touched by that filial 

194 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

love which was stronger than all thoughts 
of self. 

An hour later I told this young gentleman's 
story to Count de Berg. The Count was as 
much affected as I had been, and he promised 
that my prayer should be granted. 

The old lady went to the citadel, was ad- 
mitted, and weeping she embraced her son. 
They were happy tears, for mother and son 
left the prison together and returned to their 

This young gentleman called on me, in 
company with others of his countrymen whose 
acquaintance I had made in the citadel, and 
who then, like him, were free. 

These were my first Polish friends in War- 
saw, but I gradually came to know others ; and 
as time wore on, and they saw that all I told 
them came out true, they shut their ears to 
those counsels which could only lead to ruin. 

Many a Polish mother promised to remem- 
ber me in her prayers, and I had then, as I 
shall ever have, a humble faith that such 
prayers are acceptable to heaven. 

The Carbonari. 195 



DEATH by the poignard of the assassin and by 
poison, and where the poignard and the poison 
could not reach by defamation of character 
by cunningly fabricated lies, and the ruin of 
opponents compassed by subtle intrigue, are 
vices which we have all from our childhood 
learned to look upon as peculiar to the Italian 
soil. How our young bloods grew chill as we 
devoured the novel from the Minerva Press 
which described so graphically some terrible 
tale of Italian villany, and with what breath- 
less interest we watched from our place in a 
crammed theatre the sanguinary career of the 
bravo with his corked eyebrows and his hoarse 

In the hurry and bustle of after-life, these 
o 2 

1 96 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

first impressions of childhood wear gradually 
away, holding the same dim place in the 
memory with our old nurse's fairy tales, and 
would be blotted out altogether were we not 
startled from time to time by revelations 
coming to us from beyond the Alps more 
dark and horrible than any romance-writer 
or dramatist had imagined. 

How strange that a land so favoured by 
nature, with lovely and varied scenes, with 
genial skies, a teeming soil, and possessing 
more of the graceful and the beautiful in art 
than all the rest of the world besides, should 
be doomed to suffer by the hands of her own 
children ! 

After the fall of Murat, and the establish- 
ment of peace throughout Europe, Sir Richard 
Church, with the consent of the British Go- 
vernment, went to Naples to organize the 
army of the restored King of the Two Sicilies. 
The stronghold of the Carbonari at that time 
was in the province of Apulia, where they com- 
mitted the most frightful atrocities under the 
name of patriotism. 

'The Carbonari. 197 

The King appointed General Church his 
Alter Ego. He endowed him with despotic 
and irresponsible power, and his mission 
was to extirpate the Carbonari and restore 
order to that part of the fair kingdom of 

Nothing could surpass the terror which Sir 
Richard Church found that the assassins of 
the Carbonari had established amongst all 
classes in Apulia. No one was safe from the 
dagger or the poison, the instruments of death 
mainly employed by these ardent patriots. 
Sir Richard, who has often spoken to me on 
the subject, showed me many of the docu- 
ments, emanating from this secret society, 
which had fallen into his hands. 

The sentences of death issued by this " Na- 
tional Government " against individuals were 
signed with blood, and their proclamations 
and edicts were surmounted by devices of an 
inverted mitre, an inverted cross, and an in- 
verted crown. 

Were Sir Richard Church to publish his 
memoirs of this period of his life, they would 

198 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

reveal some terrible features in the secret poli- 
tical societies of Italy. 

The English general restored order in the 
province, and amidst the blessings of the 
entire population returned to Naples to re- 
ceive the praises of the King and the approval 
of his own Government. 

Though the Carbonari for a time seemed to 
have disappeared, the principles -of their orga- 
nization still lived. 

The doctrine that murder and falsehood are 
virtues when they are employed in the name of 
liberty, cannot be propagated with impunity 
amongst a people. Such instruments cannot 
be thrown away at will and then forgotten. 
The nation is familiarised with blood, and 
crime and virtue are confounded together in 
the popular mind. The assassin who has been 
paid to strike in the name of freedom will not 
hesitate to murder in any other cause for a like 
recompense. The ex-carbonaro was in his 
hours of leisure a bravo or a bandit, till the 
sacred cause of liberty should again require his 

The Carbonari. 199 

He had not long to wait, for under new and 
abler chiefs, and under another name, the poli- 
tical assassin began to ply his dreadful trade 
in Italy. 

Victor Hugo makes Marie Tudor to say, 
"Mon pere me disait toujours qu'on ne re- 
tirait jamais autre chose de la bouche d'un 
Italien qu'un mensonge ni autre chose de sa 
poche qu'un poignard." 

I had lived in Italy, and have known 
amongst Italians some of the noblest and 
purest of human beings. I have met with 
many who commanded the respect of all with 
whom they came into contact, by the stern 
rectitude of their sentiments and by their pure 
and spotless lives. And that I believe to be 
the character of the great majority of the 
Italian nation. It is for these, then, to show 
that they are jealous of the fair fame of their 
country, and that they protest against the 
name of Italy being associated with the vilest 
and most atrocious crimes. 

Amidst all the nations of Christendom, Italy 
stood alone with that dark blot upon her name ; 

2OO Petersburg and Warsaw. 

but now she has a rival in her bacl eminence, 
and that rival is Poland. But assassination 
and falsehood are not natural to the country 
of John Sobieski ; they have been brought 
thither from the land of Borgia and Machia- 

Sentenced to Death. 201 



ONE evening General Trepoff, who had now 
been appointed Minister of Police, spoke to 
me in the following terras : 

" When you first came here, in contradic- 
tion to what was asserted by others, you told 
the Poles that they had no material assistance 
to expect from England, and that France 
could not act without the concurrence of 
the British Government. Your words were 
said to be false. But as time' went on and 
neither England nor France sent the expected 
aid, the Poles began to think that it was you 
that had spoken the truth, and not their soi- 
disant friends. Then, when a telegram arrived, 
announcing that the Emperor Napoleon had 

2O2 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

proposed a Congress to settle the affairs of 
Poland, it was shown triumphantly about 
Warsaw, but you on that very day told every 
Pole that you met that they must not do 
anything rash, or allow themselves to be 
buoyed up with false hopes, because that 
England would never consent to such a Con- 
gress, and that consequently it could not 
possibly take place. 

" When events showed that all that you had 
said was correct, the Poles would no longer 
listen to those who had deceived them by false 
promises, and who had done nothing but lead 
them deeper and deeper into trouble. In you, 
however, they have now implicit confidence. 

" The ' National Government ' was so dis- 
pleased at all this, that they sent an order 
here that you should be assassinated. Fortu- 
nately, one of the men designated to murder 
you revealed the circumstance to us, and I at 
once took every precaution for your safety. 

" I did not intend to shock you by commu- 
nicating to you so horrible a circumstance, but 
fearing that you might not keep sufficiently 

Sentenced to Death. 203 

out of the way of danger, I thought it better 
to put you on your guard. 

" I know that you often sup at the Hotel 
d'Angleterre, and as you run great risk in 
so doing, I have ordered additional sentries 
to be posted near there, and I have also 
ordered some policemen in plain clothes and 
well armed to be stationed in the interior of 
the house." 

From thenceforth I never went out after 
sunset, unless accompanied by an armed police- 

2O4 Petersburg and Warsaw. 


As I have already observed, I visited Warsaw 
filled with sympathy for the Poles, and dis- 
posed to view their rulers with no friendly eye. 
So strongly had I prejudged their case, that I 
must confess that facts had largely accumu- 
lated within the sphere of my observation before 
I ventured to draw a conclusion. I associated 
with Polish families of high social rank, and I 
found them more afraid of the secret agents 
of the National Government than of Russian 
officials. I have met in society Polish ladies 
whose names I had seen figuring in the co- 
lumns of newspapers as martyrs in the cause 
of national freedom ladies, some of whom 
were described as having been outraged and 

Torture at Warsaw. 205 

tortured ; others, who were said to have been 
insulted for wearing mourning, or made the 
victims of some other atrocity. At the early 
period of my acquaintance with these ladies, I 
felt a kind of shame-faced awe in their pre- 
sence. Whatever honour they may deserve as 
martyrs in the cause of their country, it was 
impossible not to feel that, as women, they 
had suffered in their social relations. This 
impression weighed so heavily on my mind 
that I could never feel or act towards these 
ladies as I should have done had they not at- 
tained so painful a notoriety. It seemed as 
though they ought not to appear in public, 
as though they ought to shut themselves up 
and shun a stranger's gaze. I had been some 
months at Warsaw, when, having dined one 
day at the house of a Polish nobleman, where 
a large company was assembled, I, in the 
course of the evening, said something to Count 
Gurondsky about the tortures and insults to 
which some had been subjected. The Count 
looked astonished, and assured me that the 
histories I was narrating would sound very 

206 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

strangely in the ears of the ladies whom I 
named, nor would their families be pleased to 
learn the notoriety that their wives and sisters 
and daughters had acquired. I was able to 
adduce certain European journals as my au- 
thority. The Count opposed his personal 
knowledge. The next morning I received the 
following note : 


" After you left us yesterday evening, I went 
round amongst the ladies of my acquaintance, 
and I was unanimously assured, that neither 
during the time that they wore mourning, nor 
since they left it off, have they been arrested 
or insulted by the police or soldiers. 

"Accept, Monsieur, the assurance of my 
distinguished sentiments, 


The subject of female martyrdom being 
once broached, I had no longer any difficulty 
in speaking on the subject. The indignation 
of the ladies to whom I talked of these mat- 

'Torture at Warsaw. 207 

ters was always vehement. I remember on 
one occasion how a number of them railed 
against Mirochawlski and the red republicans, 
and said that these men and their agents 
dared to trade in the names of respectable 
persons, and outrage them by falsehoods in- 
serted in foreign journals, whilst the truth was, 
that they were living in hourly terror lest some 
member of their family might meet his death 
at the hands of the national gendarmerie. 

Whilst the agtens of the National Govern- 
ment were lawlessly striking down with a dag- 
ger, or suspending on the gibbet, those who, 
having discovered their error, wished to with- 
draw from all association with the insurgents, 
or those who refused to pay the imposts levied 
in the name of the " National Government," 
they were not less zealous in propagating re- 
ports of the cruelty of the Russians, who, it was 
commonly believed in Prance and England, 
tortured their prisoners. The horrors of civil 
war and the reprisals it entails are quite terri- 
ble enough in themselves, and need no artifi- 
cial darkening. Wishing to know the exact 

20 8 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

truth, I made inquiries in quarters where I 
was most likely to learn it, and the following 
letter is one of the many assurances I received 
that the charge of torture made against the 
Russian Government is a fabrication. The 
writer was confined in the citadel at Warsaw, 
and in the same room with Count Zamoyski. 
Both said they were well treated during their 
captivity, and, were it otherwise, the writer of 
the following letter, with whose family I was 
intimate, would certainly have told me so in 
confidence. He writes frankly : 


" You have done me so many acts of kind- 
ness, that I am sure you will be glad to learn 
that I was set at liberty yesterday. I know 
that it is to you I am indebted for my freedom. 
Allow me to offer you again my sincere thanks. 

" During the four weeks that I was detained 
in the citadel and at Pavia Street, not only had 
I ho cause to complain of the treatment I and 
my companions received, but on the contrary, 
I must say, we experienced all the considera- 

'Torture at Warsaw. 209 

tion compatible with imprisonment. Nor have 
I ever heard that anybody whomsoever has 
been subjected to torture. 

" As everything depends on His Excellency 
the Count de Berg, allow me, Sir, through 
you, to thank him for the benevolence and 
clemency he has exhibited in my regard. 

"Accept, Monsieur, the assurance of the 
profound respect of 

" Your very humble servant, 


Were I not convinced that the worst period 
of the Polish Revolution is passed, and that 
the National Government and the hanging 
gendarmerie will soon cease to be, I would 
not venture to introduce Pradrynski's name 
into these pages. It would have been to ex- 
pose him to the action of the dagger or the 
gallows. He would have been marked as a 
renegade, when in truth he was only one of 
the many Polish gentlemen who mistook the 
qualities of the instruments with which they 
hoped to realize their fondest dreams. 

2io Petersburg and Warsaw. 



THE designs of the National Government, and 
their mode of putting them into execution, 
may be deduced from one of their manifestos, 
of which the following is a copy : 

" The National Government, 
" Taking into consideration that the execu- 
tive authorities of the invasion condemn to 
death, without a legal trial, the members of 
the national organization arrested by them 
for the commissions of inquiry, and the courts- 
martial, which outrage all notions of right, 
cannot be looked on as legal tribunals the 
National Government, in order effectually to 
defend the safety of the members of the national 
organization, have, acting upon the suggestion 

Manifesto. an 

of the heads of the police department, decreed 
as follows : 

" 1st. That the commissions of inquiry, 
established to examine into so-called poli- 
tical crimes, the courts-martial, the gen- 
darmerie employed in political inquiries 
and in espionage, the military heads of 
governments, districts, and departments, 
as well as their civil assistants, the execu- 
tive police at Warsaw, with the exception 
of the administrative sections, are all ex- 
cluded from the protection of the law. 

"2d. The execution of the present decree 
is confided to the civil and military au- 

"Decreed at the sitting of the National 

" Warsaw, 25th August, 1863." 

This edict of the National Government, to 
which the official seal is attached, is a conden- 
sation of their policy, which, in fact, may be ex- 
pressed in one word " dagger." That Italian 
weapon has become the symbol of the Polish 

212 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

insurrection, and plainly reveals its origin and 
the character of its organizers. The Polish 
nobles who at first took part in the movement 
were, I repeat, deceived. They believed that 
their cherished dream of Polish independence 
was about to be realized, and when they dis- 
covered their error, they found that they had 
not alone compromised themselves with the 
Russian Government, but had given themselves 
over to the power of men to whom the in- 
terests of Poland were nothing, but who found 
in the chronic restlessness of the Poles, and in 
their high susceptibility, those elements which, 
properly fermented, might produce in Poland a 
result similar to that which had already been 
obtained in Italy. Besides, amongst the Polish 
nobility there were men of great wealth, who 
were only too happy to place their riches at 
the disposal of those who undertook to carry 
out all the details of the insurrection, and put 
the revolution-making machinery into opera- 
tion. The Poles were bade to look at Italy. 
They could see there what had been done in 
the cause of freedom by the " moral aid " of 

Manifesto. 213 

England and the material assistance of France. 
Their country, too, should be freed, and should 
again become a nation. 

A. fact not to be lost sight of is, that the 
national gendarmerie were for the most part 
foreigners. Prince Emile Willgenstein says, 
that in his Government they were mostly Prus- 
sians. What conclusion can we draw from 
this ? It is not to be supposed that these men 
volunteered to hang and stab, and were wil- 
ling to expose themselves to the consequent 
risk, without what is called a " handsome con- 
sideration." The plain truth is, these men 
were hired assassins, and the subscriptions of 
numbers of honest-minded people in England 
and France helped to furnish their pay. 

214 Petersburg and Warsaw. 



BUT for the press, the National Government 
of Poland would have been little known to the 
rest of Europe, and silence would have been 
fatal to the interests of the revolution-makers. 
It was necessary that their views should be 
propagated throughout Europe, and it was 
equally necessary that they should supply the 
source whence such information was to circu- 
late. Opinion is, in the present day, under 
certain conditions, as powerful as the sword ; 
it is the " moral aid " of which so much has 
of late been said, and the press is the exponent 
of opinion. Amongst belligerents, therefore, 
the party that secures the advocacy of the 
press receives that moral aid which, in the 

The Press. 215 

eyes of the majority, throws a halo of justifi- 
cation round its proceedings. This advocacy 
the National Government was able to secure, 
and the " foreign correspondence " of English 
and French journals often served the cause of 
the revolutionists abroad as much as the dagger 
did at home. 

Men of great talent, members of some 
secret society, often sent a " correspondence " 
to some journal of Western Europe, detailing 
events often wholly fabricated, or so highly 
coloured, as to be scarcely recognisable by 
those who knew the truth. Whether the news- 
paper correspondent was the framer of the in- 
telligence, or whether the information was 
furnished by others upon whose word he 
relied, but who practised on his credulity and 
prejudices, I cannot take upon me to say ; but 
this I can confidently affirm, that whilst stay- 
ing in Poland, I have read " foreign corre- 
spondence " in English and French papers, 
purporting to narrate circumstances said to 
have occurred in the town where I was re- 
siding, and of these narrations, I must say 

2i6 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

that they were baseless as an air-vision. A 
popular horror once set afloat circulates 
rapidly ; it is not always easy to discover the 
source ; and many journals copied in good faith 
tales of Russian barbarity that had no other 
foundation than the author's imagination. It 
was in this way that some of the leading 
journals of Europe unwittingly misled their 

Everybody must remember the sensation 
produced by Mr. Grant Duff's letter, published 
in the Times of the 14th of last January. 
That gentleman had gone to Wilna and to 
Warsaw. He had seen and judged for him- 
self. He visited the prisons and the hospitals ; 
he found the inmates properly cared for : 
there was no want of food or of rational 
recreation ; there were no traces of torture. 
" I am happy to say," says Mr. Grant Duff, 
" that the impression left upon my mind, by 
a visit to these establishments, is one highly 
favourable to the humanity of the Russian 

The Times the great organ of public 

The Press. 217 

opinion published Mr. Grant Duff's letter, 
and the English public for the first time heard 
at least a portion of the truth with regard to 
the Russo-Polish question. I must say that 
my experience coincides with that of Mr. 
Grant Duff. Public opinion, led by the press, 
may yet experience a reaction. What has 
been exalted may be condemned, and even- 
handed justice declare the truth. 

The part that many honest and independent 
journals have had in misrepresenting the real 
facts of the Polish insurrection is much to be 
deplored ; but if, instead of trusting to "foreign 
correspondents," some of the proprietors or 
editors of these journals had themselves 
travelled into Poland, public opinion in Eng- 
land would long since have taken a different 
tone. The doubly-deceived Polish nobles who 
took part in the insurrection would have had 
their eyes opened, and the real promoters of 
the insurrection would have been unmasked. 

No one honours the press more than I. It 
is not alone one of our greatest institutions, 
but it is in itself the concentrated expression 

2 1 8 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

of the power of our other great constitutional 
bulwarks, of which we may say that it is at 
the same time the offspring and the crowning 
defence. It is in England that the press 
realizes our ideal of freedom of thought and 
speech. In other countries, the press is only 
an exotic a slip, so to speak, of our English 
plant and away from its native soil it does 
not grow healthily. Under the too careful 
supervision of a more Southern cliine, it loses 
its hardy vigour ; in the colder North, it dies 
for want of sustenance ; and amongst our Trans- 
atlantic brethren, the once hardy plant, im- 
bibing the rankness of the soil, degenerates 
into a noxious weed. The press of England 
is not alone the organ of British nationality ; 
it has become the voice of the universe, and is 
equally ready to uphold an oppressed nation- 
ality against a crowned despot, or to inquire 
into the conduct of a workhouse official who 
refuses relief, or doles it out ungraciously, to 
a craving mendicant. The press is a faith 
with the British nation. The English are a 
hard-working, commercial people. The Eng- 

The Press. 219 

lishman rises in the morning, and recommences 
his daily pursuits as merchant, banker, or 
tradesman, and during the intervals of busi- 
ness, or at the close of the day, he reads his 
favourite journal and he believes. His belief 
is more in the honesty of the journalist than 
in the truth of what he reads ; for whilst he 
peruses a " leading article," or the letter of 
a foreign correspondent, he retains the secret 
though perhaps unacknowledged conviction, 
that should what he reads contain an erroneous 
statement, it will certainly, upon discovery, be 
corrected. The Englishman regards the na- 
tional press as a free-spoken, fearless spirit 
always ready to declare the unvarnished truth, 
ever ready to point out a grievance, especially 
where the mighty seek to oppress the weak. 
Never does an Englishman feel so satisfied 
that the great organs of public opinion are 
doing their duty as when they attack some 
foreign potentate, or plead for some struggling 
nationality. It is one of our popular weak- 
nesses. It is a remnant of an old creed that 
taught the Englishman that everything conti- 

22O Petersburg and Warsaw. 

nental was bad. In this, as in other cases, if 
we wish to ascertain the truth, we must see 
with our own eyes, or else rectify our opinions 
by the testimony of credible witnesses. 

Foreign Journals. 221 



I DO not write in the interest of any party ; I 
merely state what I have seen ; and I am very 
sure that were a few gentlemen, as liberal and 
as unprejudiced as Mr. Grant Duff, to go to 
Wilna and to Warsaw, their impressions would 
coincide with his and mine. It is most impor- 
tant to the Poles that the English people should 
learn the truth, and it is very certain that they 
cannot learn it from foreign journals. I have 
seen documents proving that an offer had been 
made to the Russian Government by a certain 
continental journal, to advocate the Russian 
cause upon arranged conditions. It was there 
stated that the National Committee had 
offered 150,000 francs to secure the like ser- 

222 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

vices. The Russian Government refused, and 
the journal became one of the most important 
advocates of the insurrection. 

The National Government had its own 
official organ at Cracow, and the fabricated 
accounts that appeared in its columns of out- 
rages, floggings, and tortures, were copied in 
good faith by many newspapers on the Conti- 
nent and in England. Illustrated journals 
gave engravings representing battles gained 
by the Poles over the Russians, battles which 
had never taken place, but these representa- 
tions had the effect of raising still higher the 
enthusiasm of the Philo-Poles of England and 
France, who were far from suspecting the 

Falsehoods of this nature must ultimately 
harm even the most righteous cause, but false 
reports propagated through the press are part 
of the system introduced into Poland. It has 
been, and is still, employed with a certain 
effect, and for a time misled, not alone the 
public of Western Europe, but even the Govern- 
ments of England and France. 

Foreign Journals. 113 

I am far from pretending to assert that pain- 
ful and distressing scenes did not occur in 
Poland, or that the Russian Government did 
not strictly enforce military law ; I only assert 
that the stories of torture, flogging of women, 
and such like atrocities, were not practised. 
It was painful to see young lads schoolboys 
as many of the insurgents were lying wounded 
in the hospitals, or immured in the prisons. 
I have often, moved by a mother's tears, 
pleaded for some such foolish lad, and have 
frequently succeeded in obtaining my request. 
Count de Berg once said to me, " No one can 
regret more than I being obliged to punish. 
But what would you have me do ? The laws 
must be enforced ; order must be maintained. 
I am only the exponent of the law/' 

Those writers who advocated in foreign jour- 
nals the general principles of revolution were 
unquestionably men of great talent, and under- 
stood perfectly well how to colour the events 
they described according to the opinions of the 
persons by whom they were to be read. For 
Catholic Rome, Liberal France, and Protestant 

224 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

England, the story was painted to suit the oc- 
casion. At Rome it was believed ; and through 
Rome, the inhabitants of the Faubourg St. 
Germain, and the Catholics of England and 
Ireland, believed that the Poles were perse- 
cuted on account of their religion, that the 
seclusion of convents was violated, priests and 
nuns tortured and outraged, churches dese- 
crated, and the rites of religion forbidden to 
be administered. To the free-thinking public 
of France and the Protestant people of Eng- 
land, the insurrection was described as the 
heroic struggle of a people galled by a hateful 
yoke, anxious for constitutional freedom and 
enlightened institutions. To all the appeal 
was made, in the name of philanthropy, of 
charity, and humanity. It is, perhaps, credita- 
ble to human nature that such pleas are every- 
where listened to. The Catholic and the 
Protestant heart alike responded to the call. 
The Pope feU into the snare in which he had 
been before entangled. Sums of money were 
contributed by the fine ladies of the Faubourg 
St. Germain and by gentle Englishwomen, for 

Foreign Journals. 225 

on this point they were united; pity made 
them akin ; and the Catholic clergy in these 
islands, and chiefly in Ireland, expressed the 
profoundest sympathy with the insurgents. It 
did not seem to strike these gentlemen at the 
time as an ominous fact, that the most active 
coadjutor in the cause was Gavazzi. 

The apostles of revolution understood well 
how to practise on the passions and prejudices 
of the masses ; they knew even how to make 
the best feelings of communities subservient to 
their designs. In Poland, assassination was 
done in the name of Catholicity ; in Italy, it 
was anti-papal ; and yet neither the partizans 
of the Poles nor the partizans of the Italians 
seemed to perceive that it was the same spirit 
that directed the secret committees in both 
countries. The ultramontane party in France 
and England supported, in the press and in 
the senate, the " National Government " of 
Poland, which was based upon the most atro- 
cious system of assassination the world had 
ever seen, whilst they denounced the same 
system when carried into operation against 

226 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

papal Rome. The Duke of Florence prayed 
Heaven to save him from his friends. The 
Catholic Church in these islands may well offer 
up the like petition. Her friends did her 
questionable service whilst they upheld as 
" Catholic " the Polish National Government, 
whose agents accomplish their mission by 
means of the dagger. 

Poland and Italy. 227 



ITALY, the birthplace of the cosmopolitan re- 
volutionists, was the country where they first 
had an opportunity of carrying their principles 
into operation. Some seventeen or eighteen 
years ago that extraordinary movement com- 
menced in Rome whose oscillations have since 
been felt throughout Italy. At first, reforms 
were talked of, the most philanthropic senti- 
ments found utterance, and a profound respect 
for the Pope and religion was expressed. 
Pious IX., philanthropic and confiding, was 
pleased at the prospect held out, and thinking 
to do his people much good, he not only 
joined the movement, but put himself at its 
head. Gradually the revolutionists extended 

228 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

their toils ; little by little, as in Poland, they 
rose in influence, until at last their true objects 
became revealed. The Pope, alarmed, tried, 
when he learned the truth, to draw back ; but 
it was too late. The evil had taken root, and 
Rossi, the Pope's minister, was stabbed on the 
staircase of the pontifical palace. Whether the 
dagger-thrust was a means taken to silence a 
too vigilant observer, or whether the servant 
was slain as a warning to the master, it mat- 
ters not now to inquire. The Pope saw that 
the demon of revolution was unchained, and 
fled in terror to Gaeta, and the Eternal City 
was abandoned to the revolutionists. 

The revolutionary movement in Rome was 
not an outburst against the Catholic religion, 
as many persons supposed; it was a demon- 
stration against authority of every kind, more 
especially that represented by crowned heads. 
That it was so considered by the Sovereigns 
of Europe was manifest from the manner in 
which they behaved to the Pope. The Queen 
of England wrote a letter of condolence to the 
Sovereign Pontiff ; the Emperor of Russia, the 

Poland and Italy . 229 

head of the Orthodox Greek Church, did the 
like ; nor was the King of Prussia wanting in 
expressions of sympathy. It was very evident 
that the sovereigns did not view the disturb- 
ances in Rome as a heterodox manifestation of 
disaffection to a particular form of religion ; 
they saw in the subversion of the Pope's 
authority the operations of a spirit which, in 
that instance successful against a weak sove- 
reign, might on a future occasion be suffi- 
ciently strong to shake the stability of more 
powerful thrones. Louis Napoleon, then Presi- 
dent of the Republic, took a bolder step. He 
ordered his legions to Rome, and French bayo- 
nets have since formed a rampart round the 
papal throne. 

Anybody who attentively traces the progress 
of the Polish insurrection will observe a 
striking similarity between the mode in which 
it was conducted and that followed by the 
revolutionists in Italy. The movement began 
amongst the upper classes ; the National Com- 
mittee was a hidden power whose symbol was 
the dagger. 

2jo Petersburg and Warsaw. 

How strangely inconsistent seems the con- 
duct of those men who advocate in Poland 
what they condemn in Rome ! To judge the 
conduct of any man or any body of men dis- 
passionately, we must make allowance for the 
influence of party spirit and national and social 
prejudices. It is under such influences that 
the facts of contemporary history are ignored ; 
and some historian, a few generations later, will 
win for himself some literary fame by proving 
to our descendants that we. have been alike 
extravagant in our praise and in our censure. 
Distance in space acts with regard to our 
knowledge of events with as obscuring an 
effect as distance in time. We frequently 
entertain as erroneous opinions of the conduct 
and character of our foreign contemporaries 
and of their surroundings, as of the founders 
of empires that lived centuries before the Chris- 
tian era. Our prejudices must become 
mellowed by age before we can recognise our 
error. We angelize or demonize our contem- 
poraries. Even Mr. Grant Duff could not 
name Count de Berg and General Mouravieff 

Poland and Italy. 23 1 

in the House of Commons without exciting a 
mocking laugh ; but if some of the members of 
the British Senate had witnessed what I have 
seen in Warsaw, they would have listened with 
different feelings to Mr. Grant Duff's state- 
ment of the numbers whose lives had been 
terminated by the dagger or gibbet of the 
National Gendarmerie. 

23 2 Petersburg and Warsaw. 



THE following official documents give a clear 
and correct view of the actual state of Poland. 
In these pages, a comparison is drawn between 
the aspect presented by affairs in Poland in 
the spring of 1863 and the spring of the pre- 
sent year. This comparison is worthy the 
attentive consideration of the English people. 
It will be seen there that one of the great 
incitements to insurrection, and one of the 
delusive hopes that enabled the Poles to main- 
tain the contest, was the expectation of foreign 
interference. To hold out hopes that we do 
not intend to fulfil is a cruel deception. As 
Count Osten Sacken shrewdly remarks : " The 
insurrection, left to its own resources, will 
gradually die out." 

Actual State of Poland. 233 

What are now the sentiments of the different 
classes of the Poles with regard to the insur- 
rection? The peasantry, who never revolted, 
and who, it must be confessed, had no interest 
in common with their landlords, are becoming 
every day bolder in resisting the " National 
Gendarmerie ; " bands of villagers, acting as a 
local police, assist the authorities in bringing 
these men to justice. The landed proprietors, 
who now see that all hope of foreign assistance 
is vain, " have," we are told, " modified their 
opinions." Nay, more, they " secretly " give 
information to the Russian authorities, and 
point out the lurking-places of the brigands. 
The clergy, too, have yielded to pressure 
acting from so many points, and withdrawn, 
with one exception, the symbols of national 
mourning from the churches. These are indi- 
cations of peace, though not unaccompanied 
by certain movements not calculated to raise 
the actors in our estimation. The secret in- 
former, or the public denunciator, is not a dig- 
nified character in the page of history. His 
trade is one which presents humanity in an 

234 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

unfavourable point of view, but which the 
abnormal condition of revolution brings into 
operation. Count Osten-Sacken says that 
assassination no longer goes unpunished. This 
is the best proof that the cosmopolitan revolu- 
tionists are losing their hold of Poland. 

No. 28, Annex 1. Warsaw, 

17/29 February, 1864. 


" I profit by the departure of a courier 
for Berlin, to transmit to your Excellency the 
annexed notification. 

" It is a plain statement of some considera- 
tions about the probable renewal of the in- 
trigues of the Polish revolution during the 
approaching spring. 

" Your Excellency will deign to observe, in 
glancing over this document, that I have not 
ventured in any way to prejudge the result of 
the present insurrection only in as far as the 
insurrection should be left to its own re- 

" This statement is moreover, Monsieur le 

Actual State of Poland. 235 

Baron, only a logical deduction drawn from a 
comparison between the general aspect pre- 
, sented by events in Poland at the commence- 
ment of 1863, and that which marks the 
opening of the year upon which we have just 

"In making a succint resume of the data 
contained in the communications that Mr. 
Tegoborski and I have had the honour of 
transmitting to your Excellency, I hoped to 
bring into stronger relief the actual state of 

" I have the honour to be, with the most 
profound consideration, Monsieur 1'Ambassa- 

" Your Excellency's very humble, and 
very obedient servant, 


" To His Excellency Baron Brunnow." 

236 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

. Annex to No. 28. Warsaw, 

7/19 February, 1864. 

" The more nearly the spring draws nigh, 
the more frequently are we tempted to ask 
what turn events will take after the disappear- 
ance of the cold weather, which had served as 
a material obstacle to the formation of large 
bands of insurgents ; for if, on the one hand, 
thanks to the energetic measures of the admi- 
nistration, and to the incessant activity of our 
columns, the beaten and scattered insurgent 
bands experience considerable difficulty in 
rallying in the different suburbs and villages 
of the kingdom, on the other hand, it becomes 
impossible for them to rally in the forests on 
account of the severity of the weather. 

" When the winter shall have passed, this 
latter obstacle will disappear. 

" We have every reason to believe that with 
the return of spring the conspirators will 
endeavour to reassemble some bands. The 
small groups of brigands that now make their 
appearance, sometimes in one locality, some- 

Actual State of Poland. 237 

times in another, may combine and form 
nuclei round which will cluster those insur- 
gents who have escaped the vigilance of the 
local police and the pursuit of our detachments 
that traverse the country in every direction. 

" Already the diminished cold of the month 
of January has occasioned the concentration 
of some bands numbering about one hundred 
men each. 

"Prom information received from many 
quarters, we foresee fresh incursions from 
Galicia and Posnania. 

" Some of the advices we have received tell 
us at the same time of increased excesses on 
the part of the ' reds ' and of the partizans of 

" All that we have heard makes it our duty 
to consider seriously what may be the result 
of the intrigues which will probably be renewed 
by the conspirators during the coming spring. 

" We shall proceed to reason by compari- 

" It is, in fact, the real difference which exists 
between the state of things that characterized 

238 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

the political situation of the spring of 1863 
and that which marks the present time, that 
can serve as a basis for provisions as to future 

"At the beginning of the year 1863, the 
insurrection first openly declared itself. The 
insurrection sprang forth, replete with all the 
resources of a carefully-prepared organization, 
and which had not been yet weakened by use. 
The effect which the system of terrorism intro- 
duced by the conspirators exercised over the 
minds of the population was, for the latter, a 
new sensation. The mysterious dread of a 
secret association whose vengeance overtook 
its victims even in the bosom of their families 
was experienced with the force that a sentiment 
wholly new inspires. 

" Moreover, the revolutionary enthusiasm at 
that time existed in its full force, and created 
a belief in the most improbable results, because 
it had not yet been brought into contact with 

" The agricultural population, who took no 
part in the movement, were stupified by the 

Actual State of Poland. 239 

audacity of the insurgents, who committed 
excesses upon so vast a scale. 

" The nobility still flattered themselves that 
they would be able to guide the movement. 

" Partly of their own free choice, and partly 
overruled by others, the nobility were far from 
foreseeing the evils that awaited them, and the 
disastrous effects that the ascendancy of the 
' reds ' would bring upon them. 

" The defection of the government employes, 
for the most part kept secret, retarded the 
administration of the laws. 

" The police, consisting almost exclusively 
of Poles, was not yet reformed, and often 
afforded impunity to criminals, either through 
want of activity or through the treason of 

" Lastly, foreign intervention put a climax 
to the difficulties of the situation. 

" The hope of success which this intervention 
inspired doubled the strength of the insurrec- 
tion, and induced the majority of the upper 
and middle classes to make immense sacrifices 
to prolong the existing confusion, hoping for a 

24 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

foreign intervention of a definite and decided 

" Such was the position of affairs in the 
spring of 1863. 

"The characteristics of the present spring 
are essentially different. 

"Disorder still prevails. Small bands of 
brigands commit revolting excesses in localities 
where they do not expect to meet the regular 

" But the insurrection has been worn out in 
a struggle that exhausted its means of supply, 
at the same time that public feeling has ex- 
perienced sensible modifications, the result of 
last year's experience. 

" In fact, the first outburst of enthusiasm 
having passed away, all that remained to the 
insurgents was the hope of foreign assistance, 
confidence in a system of terrorism, and 

" The brilliant diplomatic career which the 
Imperial Cabinet has conducted, with an ability 
that has won the admiration of its antagonists 
and the gratitude of the country, has annihi- 

Actual State of Poland. 241 

lated the malevolent project of the Powers that 
were combined against us, and crushed that 
last hope of the Polish revolutionists. 

" The majority of those became greatly dis- 
pirited who had combined with the promoters 
of the movement in the hope that foreign in- 
tervention would come to the aid of the Poles, 
and with the unavowed hope, that the question 
once openly discussed, they would succeed in 
supplanting the 'reds,' for the advantage of 
their own party. 

"Meanwhile, the energetic and sustained 
measures of the Government had weakened 
the sense of terror which the secret committee 
had inspired, and had replaced it by that salu- 
tary fear which criminals experience in the face 
of a strong administration, which will inevita- 
bly overtake crime. 

"The numerous arrests and banishments 
which the insurrection has entailed have weak- 
ened the influence of the secret committee. 

" Dissension amongst the promoters of the 
insurrection, numerous defections, and the 
want of pecuniary means, are facts which the 

242 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

revolutionists regard with alarm, as is proved 
by many authentic documents that have fallen 
into our hands. 

" The contributions levied upon the different 
classes that had directly or indirectly favoured 
the insurrection, as well as the pecuniary fines 
imposed in special cases upon persons who 
might have prevented partial crimes, have 
aroused a portion of the population, and in- 
duced them to exercise a surveillance, without 
which the operations of the Government would 
have been insufficient. On the other hand, 
the excesses committed by the insurrectionists 
during more than a year have turned the 
greater portion of the population against them. 

'"Emboldened by the energy displayed by 
the administration, this sentiment has increased 
amongst the people, and resolved itself into 

" The peasantry look with great satisfaction 
upon the activity gradually displayed by the 
Government. Reposing with confidence upon 
the well-timed operations of the legal autho- 
rity, they have become themselves more active 

Actual State of Poland. 243 

and more enterprising against the agents of 
the revolution. 

" The enrolment of village guards, and seve- 
ral local facts, give evidence of the spirit that 
animates the peasantry. 

" The landed proprietors, on their side, have 
in general considerably modified their opinions. 
. " Depressed by the conviction of the hope- 
lessness of foreign aid, threatened with the 
complete destruction of their properties, en- 
tailed by the insurrection, great numbers have 
sought the good graces and support of our 
authority, whose operations they sometimes 
secretly aid by private information, and by 
pointing out on their estates the abode of soli- 
tary insurgents, or small bands of brigands. 

" The so-called national taxes are very badly 
paid ; for the most part, they are refused. 

"Under the pressure of the contributions 
imposed by the Government, the clergy this 
powerful auxiliary of the Polish revolution 
have already begun in certain localities to 
change their tone : the black drapery is re- 
moved from all the churches in the kingdom, 

244 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

with the exception of the archdiocese of 

" The numberless denunciations enregistered 
by the courts-martial prove, on the one hand, 
the gradual diminution of the influence of the 
revolutionary terrorism, and, on the other, 
despair as to the success of the insurrection. 

" In short, the efforts of a remodelled and 
active police are gradually producing results 
which induce us to augur ultimate success. 

"Assassination no longer remains unpun- 
ished ; the law overtakes the crime and the 

" Such are the results obtained during the 
past months, and the principal characteristics 
which mark the situation of affairs now, at the 
beginning of the year 1864. 

" This simple statement justifies us in draw- 
ing the following conclusions : 

" Making allowance for unforeseen circum- 
stances which often play so important a part 
in the history of the events, and in the grave 
complications that sometimes arise in Europe, 
we may say, with some degree of confidence, 

Actual State of Poland. 245 

that the Polish insurrection, left to its own 
resources and deprived of external assistance, 
has small prospect of lasting much longer. 

" The exhaustion consequent upon a violent 
struggle is such, that it would be difficult to 
believe that a factitious reproduction of the 
insurrectionary movement could be anything 
more than isolated outbursts arising in certain 
localities, and of whose repression there could 
be no doubt. 

" The disorganization of the revolutionary 
association, and the modifications which have 
taken place in public opinion, are symptoms 
which do not permit us to doubt that the 
Polish insurrection will gradually fade away 
along that descending scale down which it has 
been gliding during the past months. 

"Let it be thoroughly well understood, that 
the incursions of bands from Galicia and Pos- 
nania must be prevented at any cost. 

"The moral influence resulting from the 
entrance of these bands may be productive of 
more evil than the excesses by which they 
might mark their passage." 

246 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

No. 33. Warsaw, 

17/29 February, 1864. 


" I have but little t6 add to the general in- 
formation which I had the honour to transmit 
to your Excellency in my last communications. 

"The reports lately received by the Lieu- 
tenant of the Emperor state, that the detach- 
ments which incessantly traverse the kingdom 
rarely meet any insurgent bands. 

"Detachments have been sent in various 
directions in pursuit of fugitives, and already 
three hundred insurgents have been sent pri- 
soners to Kelce. 

" The only meetings of insurgents mentioned 
in these reports are those which have taken 
place in the south-eastern part of the govern- 
ment of Radom. 

"In fact, the passage of some bands from 
Galicia has been facilitated by the ice which 
covered the Vistula. These bands seem to 
have attracted to their ranks the marauders 
and vagrants who, in the government of Ra- 

Actual State of Poland. 247 

dom, had succeeded in escaping the vigilance 
of our authorities, and who must have found 
their way singly into the south-eastern part of 
this government. 

" The military arrondissement of Radom is 
consequently entirely freed of this class of 

" As I have already had the honour to in- 
form your Excellency by a telegram this day, 
a band of insurgents had formed the intention 
of making a coup de main against the town of 

" Repulsed by our troops, this band was 
soon put to flight by General Tchiengeri, 
who having captured their chief bearing the 
pseudo-name of Topor had him hanged in 
the market-place of the above-named city. 

"The re-establishment of order and tran- 
quillity, which I had the honour of notifying 
to your Excellency in my preceding communi- 
cations, continues to progress gradually. 

" Captain Baron Brunning. who was sent 
upon official business into the districts of 
Olkersz and of Miechow, and who has re- 

248 Petersburg and Warsaw. 

turned this evening to Warsaw, has traversed 
these districts without an escort. 

" Your Excellency is aware that these two 
districts, situated on the frontiers of Galicia 
and of the Duchy of Cracow, were, during the 
period of the insurrection, incessantly infested 
by bands of insurgents. 

"I have the honour to be, with the most 
profound respect, Monsieur 1'Ambassadeur, 
your Excellency's 

"Very humble and obedient servant, 

" To His Excellency Baron Brunnow." 



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